A Karnataka sarpanch is using a novel approach to persuade village folk in his district not to defecate in the open but build toilets instead.
Srinivas Karturi, the sarpanch of the Sriramnagar gram panchayat in Koppal district of Karnataka, is an ardent proponent of PM Modi’s Swachch Bharat Mission. The Mission aims to eliminate open defecation and create better waste management practices in India by the year 2019.
However, Karturi is disappointed with the slow progress of the cleanliness campaign in his own panchayat. He wants to make his village open-defecation free by 2017. The village has almost 2100 families but only 441 of them have toilets. This means that several villagers still have to go out into the fields to defecate.
So Karturi has adopted an unusual practice to plead with the villagers to help him with his mission. He prostrates himself at their feet, begging them to build toilets and not defecate in the open.
He also promises to bring in sponsors to help them if they are unable to afford the complete cost of building a toilet.
While some people find his approach embarrassing, others have found it persuasive. Reports also say that Karturi’s strategy is working better than that of another panchayat leader in Koppal whose method of choice is to blow a whistle when he sees someone defecating in the open, something that has gone down well with his constituents.
Speaking to India Today, the CEO of Koppal Zilla Pachayat, R Ramachandran said, “The whole effort is to make the place defecation free and also teach people how to live in clean conditions. Officials across districts have been briefed on how we can sensitize people on sanitation and the need for toilets to keep their surroundings clean. We are trying to pursue that as a mission.”