New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil Wednesday called for a monitoring mechanism to ensure the proper functioning of the santitation infrastructure in India’s rural areas. ‘Rural sanitation in India, which was as abysmally low as 1 percent in 1980, reached about 21 percent in 2001 and is now around 70 percent. I look forward to the day when this coverage touches 100 percent. For this, a lot of work still remains to be done,’ she said.
The president was speaking at a function here to present the Nirmal Gram Awards 2010-11 to local bodies institutions.
Patil said even after 100 percent coverage, the task will not be complete.
‘The effort then will be to ensure that toilets remain functional and people continue to use them. For their sustainability, there should be a monitoring mechanism for ensuring functionality and also a proper disposal system,’ she said.
Patil said that human waste needs to be treated in a way that it does not contaminate either water or land and can be used for manure and biogas generation.
‘I am glad that the government is working on these lines in this regard, and has not only prepared a ten year action plan, which includes full toilet cover by 2015, but also has set a target of attainment of personal hygiene and solid and liquid management goal in rural areas by 2022,’ she added.
Over 800 award award winners and guests attended the ceremony organised by the department of drinking water and sanitation under the rural development ministry.
The president felicitated representatives of 21 gram (village) panchayats and one block panchayat for having attained the ‘nirmal’ status of being free from open defecation. The awardees were presented a memento and scroll.
Rural Development Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said the Nirmal Gram Puraskar was a laudable initiative with tremendous potential to change the quality of life in the villages and the awardees had become role models in achieving the objective of clean and healthy villages.