Struggling to contain open defecation under the government’s flagship sanitation programme, the Clean India Mission, the Neem-Ka-Thana municipality in Sikar district has resorted to public shaming of offenders by garlanding them.
Junior engineer of the municipality, Manish Singh, along with his team caught 60-odd open defecators during an hour-long drive on Sunday and garlanded them on the spot, hoping it would act as a deterrent if not a solution to the lack of public toilets in the area.
“The idea was to embarrass them by presenting garlands precisely at the time when they go to defecate in public places,” said Singh. The drive will continue over the next few weeks as a part of the state government’s statewide special cleaning drive slated to be launched from October 2.
Open defecation poses a serious health hazard as bacteria and worms in faeces are often accidentally ingested, which may result in a range of health problems from diarrhoea to enteropathy, a chronic sickness that prevents the absorption of calories and nutrients.
According to the Swachhta Status Report 2016, which was released in the April by the National Sample Survey Office, 73 per cent households in rural areas and 14.2 per cent households in urban areas of Rajasthan don’t have any latrine facilities.
While only 4.7 per cent of villages in Rajasthan have community toilets, which is much lower than the all India figure of 13.1 per cent.
According to the report, 66.6 per cent rural and 12.2 per cent urban households in Rajasthan contribute to open defecation.