Even as the government aims to make the state open defecation free by December 2017, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s own constituency Karnal has missed the deadline to become open defecation free (ODF).
In June this year, the district administration had started a special campaign with a target to make over 382 panchayats open defecation free by December 31. But over 100 panchayats have failed to achieve the target.
Out of six blocks in the district, not even a single block has been declared open defecation free yet. Moreover, five out of 20 wards of the Karnal Municipal Corporation have not been able to become open defecation free yet.
The district administration has now extended the deadline to January 31 but officials working on the project reveal they are finding it difficult to change the mindset of people as they are unwilling to leave the old habit of defecating in the open.
Talking to Hindustan Times, additional deputy commissioner of Karnal, Priyanka Soni said, “Yes we have already extended the deadline but our efforts are on to make Karnal ODF by January 31 as only 272 panchayats out of 382 panchayats have been declared ODF so far”.
“Teams of 128 volunteers are visiting every village and telling people about the harms of open defecation,” she added.
The ADC further said, “The challenge is in changing the mindset of the people as many people already have toilets in their houses but even then they hesitate to use it. We are making efforts to change their mindset.”
“We have already completed small villages, now we are visiting big villages and towns of the district and the task will be completed by January 31,” she added.
The state government has set a target to declare the entire state open defecation free by December 2017 but the Khattar’s Karnal is lagging behind than other districts as neighbouring districts of Panipat, Yamunanagar and Kurukshetra have already been declared ODF.