Madhya Pradesh may have been ranked second after Gujarat in building household toilets in urban areas in 2014-15, but activists said the state still has a long way to go to meet the target in rural areas.
Data released by the urban development ministry showed that more than 2.70 lakh household toilets were constructed in the urban areas across the country under the Swachh Bharat Mission during the last financial year, out of which MP accounted for 37% household toilets.
But in rural areas, the state is ranked fifth in terms of number of toilets built in the last fiscal.
In the rural segment, MP has constructed about 4.79 lakh toilets in 2014-15, which is about 9% of the total toilets constructed in the rural areas across the country in the last financial year.
In the last census report on open defecation in states, MP was ranked second in the list of bad performers after Jharkhand.
The Swachh Bharat Mission aims at attaining a 100% open defecation-free India by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The main objective of the programme is to bring about an improvement in the general quality of life by promoting cleanliness, hygiene and eliminating open defecation and accelerate sanitation coverage.
With more than 83 lakh households in rural areas of Madhya Pradesh still without toilets, it will be an uphill task for government agencies to ensure that the state becomes free of open defecation by 2019.
However, the state officials are confident of achieving the target.
"On an average, a gram panchayat has 500 households. So we are confident of achieving the 100% open defecation free target by 2019," said Hymavathi Varman, state programme officer for Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan.
Currently, defecation in the open has been stopped in only about 3,000 of the 23,000 gram panchayats in Madhya Pradesh.
In percentage terms, 36% of households in rural areas have toilets and the state needs 83 lakh more toilets to achieve its goal.
However, construction of toilets alone does not guarantee that a particular village will become open defecation free.
According to NGO Madhya Pradesh Lok Sangharsh Sanjha Manch, "awareness about hazards of open defecation is poor. Even in rural houses where toilets have been built, most people avoid it due to behavioral patterns."
MP has built 81.68 lakh toilets since the total sanitation campaign was launched in 1999-2000
MP has built about 99,000 toilets in urban areas and 4.79 lakh toilets in rural areas during fiscal 2014-15
Nearly 3,000 of 23,000 gram panchayats in MP are open defecation free needs 83 lakh more toilets to become totally open defecation free