A team of senior officers of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation led by the Secretary, Mr. Parameswaran Iyer, visited the State of Karnataka and met with State officials to evaluate the water crisis and sanitation situation in the State.
A meeting was held with the Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Mr. H K Patil, followed by meetings with the Chief Secretary and Additional Chief Secretary of the State. The Chief Secretary and Secretary also spoke to the District Collectors of the State via video conference.
The Secretary assured the senior officials of support from the Centre to combat the drought situation prevalent in parts of the State. A detailed discussion was held around possible drought management techniques and technologies, especially those dealing with water recharge and conservation.
A key highlight of the meeting was a presentation made by a team of water experts from Latur district, who spoke about the "Shirpur Pattern" of watershed work that has been successful in many parts of Maharashtra. Efforts are being made to replicate and scale this technique, and a pilot of the technique is being planned in North Karnataka to help the drinking water situation in the region.
Support for Sanitation:
In the review meeting with Karnataka District Collectors on sanitation, a commitment was made by the officers to make seven districts of Karnataka Open Defecation Free (ODF) in 2016-17.
Of these, it is targeted that four districts will become ODF by October 2nd, 2016 - the second anniversary of the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission. It is also targeted that every district of Karnataka will have at least some blocks or Gram Panchayats or villages that are ODF by October 2, 2016, for which a participatory celebration will be organised by the State.
The Chief Secretary said that ODF movement has to be taken up as a community movement, and the involvement of the people is a must to make it a success.
Involving non-governmental sectors:
As part of the continuing efforts of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to involve the non-governmental sector in scaling up Swachh Bharat Mission, the Secretary also held a discussion with the organisation 'Arghyam' to discuss their experiences with sanitation.
He also visited the Indian Institute for Human Settlements to discuss monitoring and evaluation of Swachh Bharat Mission and other technical issues related to the programme.