Haryana has become the fourth state in the country where the rural areas have been declared Open Defecation - Free (ODF), a minister said here on Thursday.
The only other states to have ODF rural areas are Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Kerala.
"An ODF - plus campaign has also been prepared for sustenance of the ODF status through effective solid and liquid waste disposal management, " Haryana's Agriculture, Development and Panchayats Minister O. P. Dhankar told media persons here.
Dhankar said all 6, 205 gram panchayats in the state had been declared ODF.
"I congratulate the people of Haryana for this achievement and the significant role played by woman officers and representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions, public representatives and volunteers for making this difficult task achievable in a timely manner.
Rural areas have achieved the target before urban areas, which faced various challenges, " he said.
"After Prime Minister Narendra Modi set the goal of achieving ODF status in the country by 2019, Haryana took upon itself the challenge to become ODF by 2017 by bringing about behavioural change through an intensive campaign.
"As per a survey conducted in 2012, of the total 30. 24 lakh rural households in the state, 7. 3 lakh households were without toilets, " he pointed out.
With the ODF campaign, more than 7. 51 lakh toilets were constructed and 100 per cent coverage of toilets in rural areas was achieved, he said.
"About 51, 000 toilets were constructed as a result of the condition set by the Haryana government that persons wishing to contest elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions must have functional toilets in their houses, " he added.
He said the campaign focused not only on construction of toilets but also on bringing about a change in behaviour so that people used toilets and did not defecate in the open.
"This has resulted in an impressive and visible change, " Dhankar said.