Rs 101 Crore For Himachal’s Total Rural Sanitation Program

Shimla:Though the total rural sanitation program was launched late in the hill state but it had bettered the national average in targets achieved.

Deva Singh Negi, a government administrator of the program speaking at a World Bank sponsored workshop today stated this and added that the rural development department had a Rs 101 crore budget, spread out over four years for providing rural access to toilets to all by 2012.

He said an incentive driven scheme for constructing toilets had its limitations because the mandatory society behavioural changes needed to stop defecating in the open had to be communicated effectively.

Attempting to replicate a Bangladeshi initiative for community participation in achieving total rural sanitation, the government intends to emphasize more on the dissemination of information, education and communication campaign.

Geeta Sharma from the World Bank sponsored Water and Sanitation Program said that the community driven program that proved very successful in achieving total rural sanitation in a Bangladeshi community had achieved excellent results when implemented in some parts of Maharashtra and West Bengal.

“On its analogy we are in the process for devising a strategy for Himachal,” said Sharma.

Stressing on the need demand responsive community led campaign Sharma said, “even though the polio eradication campaign has successfully contained the dreaded disease but an isolated case like the one reported from Nirmand village in Kullu district could be because of a lapse in safe disposal of feces of children who were administered the drops.”

Aman Abbas, a consultant from IPAN roped in to devise a strategy for the state, said, the program intends to focus on children for their ability to become advocates of sanitation awareness drives in schools and households. He said that though the total rural sanitation program was started late in the hill state but it had crossed the national average in targets achieved.

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