SC issue notices to Centre on sanitation campaign

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New Delhi, Jan 7 (UNI) The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre on a PIL seeking directions to implement total sanitation campaign for urban areas similar to the rural areas with a minimum budget of Rs 20,000 crores during 11th Five Year Plan, so as to end open defecation in urban areas by 2012.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal issued notices to the Union Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation and the Department of Drinking Water and Supply, Ministry of Rural Development after hearing the petitioner, Prabhakar Deshpande, who contended before the court that poor sanitation leads to poor health and spreads various diseases and compromises the dignity and modesty of people.

According to the petitioner, lack of sanitation creats unhygenic condition and practice of defecating in the open, offends Indians and foreign tourists.

The petitioner also contended that the sanitation level should be achieved upto 95 per cent by 2012 as total sanitation is part of the Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in Article 47 of the Constitution, which says that the state should strive to improve public health.

A sanitation programme was launched in 1999 to attain total sanitation in rural areas but urban areas continued to remain neglected, despite the fact that India is a signatory to UN Millennium Goal Declaration, one of whose objective is to reduce the number of people without assess to toilets by half.

According to the petitioner, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has recently in an international declaration reaffirmed India's commitment to achieve millennium development goals.

UNI AKS/SC DS RP KN1817

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