LUCKNOW: For the second year running, Uttar Pradesh has continued its poor performance on the rural hygiene front. After 2009, when six gram panchayats bagged the Nirmal Gram Puraskar, this year, the state has marked a marginal improvement, with the number of such gram panchayats having risen to 13. However, in 2008, 598 GPs won the prestigious award. In subsequent years, the state’s performance has seen a sharp dip in achieving total sanitation targets.

“The thing about total sanitation and putting a stop to open defecation is that it involves a behavioural change in people. Just building dry toilets is not the answer. That’s where UP has lagged behind,” said Chhedi Lal, a social worker of Bijnore, a village in Lucknow district.