Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s declaration that India is open-defecation free appears to be a tall claim. There is some truth in the adage “old habits die hard”, and despite thousands of washrooms being built in rural India, many villagers prefer to do their business in the open. The impressive numbers that the government has put up — building 100 million toilets in the past five years — have come in for praise from the international community including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but clearly, it is still a work in progress. Enlightening the rural populace about the importance of hygiene and cleanliness is imperative to open their eyes to the perils of open defecation. The government may also consider introducing bio-toilets on long-distance trains.
N J Ravi Chander , Bengaluru
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