In a decision that is set to create furore, Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi on Saturday announced that the distribution of free rice to villagers in the Union Territory may be stopped until they are open defecation free.
The free rice scheme is government scheme intended to benefit more than half of its population.
In a statement, she said the free distribution of rice “shall be conditional to the certification of the village being open defecation free and free of strewn garbage and plastics by submitting a joint certificate given by the MLA and the Commune Commissioner to the Civil Supplies Commissioner.”
The new decision will be implemented from June.
This also means that the authorities and villagers have a deadline of four weeks to keep their surroundings clean.
She said that the certification shall also be cross checked to ensure its veracity.
She expressed anguish at the slow pace of rural sanitation and mentioned that over last two years, there has not been any resolve evident to make rural Puducherry clean within a time frame.
“I am sure the community leaders including concerned public servants will take the lead in this transformation. I also urge the NABARD to support only NGO who has inbuilt waste management as integral part of its training programs,” she said.
Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy was not available for comment.>