New Delhi: Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti on Saturday suggested that sanitary napkins should be provided in women toilets in rural areas.
Speaking at the event “Ek Nayi Subah”, which was held at the India Gate lawns here to mark the completion of two years of the Narendra Modi government, Bharti said, “In rural areas, women and girls in school face the problem of going out (during menstruation days)… I would request if sanitary pads could be provided in the toilets so that it could help women and children get help instantly.”
Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, who was also present at the occasion, assured that he would follow her recommendations of providing sanitary napkins in women toilets in rural areas. He also said that on a priority basis, toilets should be built in the areas of Ganga where approximately 1,500 Panchayat’s reside.
Speaking on the topic of Swachcha Bharat, Singh said: “PM Modi first made the call that an initiative about cleanliness needs to be started and its effect was seen across the country… Our target (of building toilets) 95 percent, we have surpassed that target and built more toilets.”
“I don’t believe that by building toilets that our mission, our objective will be achieved. The mentality of the people should be shaped in such a way that it reflects that yes today the nation is going in a direction where we have to maintain cleanliness,” he said.
In India, Sikkim has been declared as open-defecation free state.
“Apart from Sikkim, four more states namely Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka and Gujarat are following the same path (free of open-defecation). More than 86 percent of rural areas of Punjab has seen our initiative of Swachchata Abhiyan bring a change. In the coming years, a dozen more states will become open-defecation free,” Singh said.
On the massive Ganga river project, Bharti said that cleaning the river is a mammoth task and filled with challenges.
“For hundred years, whatever industrialisation, urbanisation and privatisation has taken place, it has considered Ganga as a space where it can release its effluents. We have been trying to reverse the damages from the past 29 years. Almost Rs.4,000 crore was spent on this but the funding pattern was such that the money was spent and the pollution in the river was also increased,” Bharti said.
“Now, the government has allotted Rs.20,000 crore funding in which we have decided that in 2016 October, we will show Phase I of Nirmal Ganga, in 2018 October we will show Phase II and in 2020 the final phase of the project,” Bharti announced.
According to Bharti, the cleanliness work has already begun at some of the places where Ganga flows as well as at some of its tributaries such as Ram Ganga and Kaali Ganga. She also said that warnings have been issued to industries to implement zero liquid discharge principle.
“By 2018, Ganga will be among world’s ten cleanest rivers,” Bharti promised.
Neeraj Jain, chief executive, WaterAid India, said that building toilets has a direct impact on women and girls.
“In a research it was found out that 23 percent girls drop out of school because of absence of toilets. Today is International Menstrual Hygiene Day… In India, 66 percent women defecate in open to maintain their menstrual hygiene. Installing toilets is bringing a major change in the lives of these women. It will also bring a change in their health which will impact the future generation,” Jain said.