200,000 Indian villages are now open defecation free, claims govt
Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar today said two lakh villages across the country have become open defecation free so far.
"In 2014, there were 44 per cent toilets available in the country. Today, this number has gone up to 64 per cent. While we aim to make the country open defecation free by 2019, two lakh villages have become open defecation free so far," the rural development minister said.
He was speaking at Y B Chavan centre here on the occasion of launch of a nationwide campaign 'Darwaza Band' which is aimed at promoting use of toilets and discouraging open air defecation.
"Today we praise foreign nations for their cleanliness. After 2019, foreigners who come here should praise our cleanliness. That should be the kind of work we should do," the minister said.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who was also present at the event, said all districts in Maharashtra are working speedily towards achieving an open defecation free status.
"In the last one year, 19 lakh toilets were constructed (in the state). I assure you that among big states, Maharashtra will be the first to become open defecation free," he said.
Cleanliness has increased by 35 per cent in Maharashtra where 16,000 villages have become open defecation free, which amounts to 18 per cent of total villages across the nation, the chief minister said.
"200 out of 250 cities have achieved an open defecation free status. While all cities in the state will become open defecation free by 2017 end, entire Maharashtra will be free of open defecation 2018," he said.
Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who is leading the 'Darwaza Band' campaign, said he was fortunate to be a part of it.
"If my face and voice can be used to inculcate a sense of cleanliness among the masses, I will be most happy. People who defecate in the open should use toilets," he said.