Going by the report of The Tribune, open defecation in the areas declared as open defecation-free (ODF) under the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan in Jammu Division will now invite a fine of Rs. 200 soon.
An official said, the decision has been taken to ‘maintain the ODF status’ in the state as people are found defecating in the open despite various efforts by the authorities to encourage them to construct latrines.
After an audit conducted by a Central agency, the areas declared as ODF are Batote, Kishtwar, Arnia, Nowshera, Surankote, Rajouri, Kalakote, Sundarbani, Reasi, Katra, Jourian, Ghoumansa, Basholi, Udhampur and Poonch.
“Sanitation can only be maintained successfully by active participation of the general public and the department. Any person found defecating in the open, particularly in the municipal committees or councils declared as ODF, will be fined Rs 200,” said Rajinder Singh Tara, director, Urban Local Bodies, Jammu.
Though the municipal corporations in Jammu and Srinagar have failed to achieve their targets under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, efforts are still being made by the officials to create public awareness.
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“Unlike urban areas, a majority of the villages have no sanitation workers. At times, the administration hires labourers to lift the garbage but that too is done occasionally. The shortage of workers is the main reason for poor sanitation in rural areas,” said Dev Raj, a resident of RS Pura.
J&K has been placed second in terms of the worst sanitation coverage after Bihar.