Wardha: The country will get rid of open defecation in next 10 years, asserted Union Minister for Urban Development and Sanitation Jairam Ramesh, while launching the `Nirmal Bharat Yatra` to make the country free from open defecation, in Sewagaram Ashram, here today.
The campaign was launched from Sewagram Ashram in Wardha district in the presence of Maharashtra`s Minister for Sanitation Laxmanrao Dhoble, Minister of State for Finance and Wardha District Guardian Minister Rajendra Mulak.
Speaking on the occasion, Jairam Ramesh said that it was unfortunate that about 60 percent of women population in the country opted for open defecation.
He said Himachal Pradesh should be free from open defecation by April 2013, Haryana by April 2014, Tamil Nadu by April 2015 and Maharashtra by April 2017.
The Yatra will cover a journey of 56 days across five states spanning nearly 2000 kms and will target about nine crore people to spread awareness through the campaign.
About 8.60 lakh `Asha` activists, 14 lakh anganwadi workers and 25 lakh women from self help groups would support the campaign, Ramesh said.
The government would extend financial assistance upto Rs 10,000 for constructing individual toilets.
A total of Rs 1,86,000 crores are being spent on sanitation and safe drinking water projects,he said.