Rivers in India are sewers: Jairam Ramesh With India accounting for 58 per cent of all open defecations in the world, the government today sought active involvement of all parties concerned including women panchayat representatives to sensitise the people in creating awareness about public hygiene. "On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, I would like to mention one such case which is a shame on all of us. No other country in the world where about 60 per cent women have to go to the field for open defecation," Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said in a function organised by the Hunger Project. Terming the prevailing open defecation in many parts of the country as a "blot on India", Ramesh said this is an issue of public hygiene. "These women do not have access to hygiene. This is actually a very sad commentary on our society. We seem to be not doing much about it," the minister rued. Referring to the Mahatma, he said Gandhiji had strived for transforming villages into 'nirmal grams' (village free from open defecation). "There are some states like Harayana, Sikkim, Maharashtra, Kerala where hygiene conditions exist but in other states it is not visible," Ramesh noted. Terming the situation as "paradox", he said, "We prefer to remain clean and dump filth outside. This is a paradox -- individual hygiene and public filth. This is something that we should take up as a challenge. It is a challenge for political parties, the government and society also." Describing the prevailing condition of rivers, he said, "Rivers are not rivers in India. Rivers have become sewers. The 500-km stretch of Ganga between Kannuaj and Varanasi is just sewer. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_rivers-in-india-are-sewers-jairam-ramesh_1594304 They had decades in power to reversing it... why open mouth just in functions???