Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said on Saturday that the Centre would work in collaboration with village panchayats for the success of proposed Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, under which the union government plans to make all rural areas of the country free from open defecation menace within a decade.
Giving details of the total sanitation project at a function in which 330 villages of Haryana were honoured for 'nirmal' or free of open defecation, said the project would be covered under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS).
"It is unfortunate that though we have made technological advancements by testing Agni missiles, but even after 65 years of Independence we are unable to provide toilets to our people. Practice to defecate in open is a blot on our society. The central government is committed to get rid of the unwanted practice within a decade," said the minister.
Ramesh informed the audience that of the total global population with no access to toilets, about 60% live in India.
Even as Ramesh lauded the role of Haryana in promoting toilets within houses through "no toilet, no bride" campaign, his inspiring apolitical speech and announcements failed to impress the rural population of the state.
Panchayati raj institute members from five districts invited at the award-giving ceremony left the venue even before the panchayats were honoured by the minister. Repeated appeals to maintain decorum of the function had no impact and the venue wore a deserted look even before the ceremony had concluded.
Lauding the role of Himachal and Sikkam for becoming 'nirmal' states, Ramesh urged Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to initiate steps in making his state free from open defecation in a time-bound manner.