A large board in the village proclaims the benefits of using a covered toilet. In a room not far away, there is a pile of shining white commodes, pipes and bricks. This is the extent of sanitation facilities that the residents of Nichitpur village, Khunti District, Jharkhand have.
“In our village, going to the toilet is often a matter of life and death. One doesn’t know whether they will be attacked by an elephant or a snake or by a deadly disease”. The toilet Amit Topno talks of is in fact the jungle two kilometres away from his village which people use in the absence of proper sanitation.
For the women and elderly of the village the lack of a proper toilet also translates to a lack of dignity. They are too scared to go further afield and are forced to defecate around their houses. The situation is worse in the monsoons when diseases like cholera, dysentery and skin infections wreak havoc with the people’s health.
According to a recent Census report 92.4% households in rural Jharkhand do not have toilet facilities or sanitation. The Sampoorna Swachchata Abhiyan (Total Sanitation Campaign) in Jharkhand had promised families living below poverty line a sum of Rs. 3,200 to make toilets. In Nichitpur, the raw materials to make toilets have arrived but there has been no further development.
“There are massive blunders in the system” says, Amit Topno, “either the contractors siphon off the money or do minimal work to extract the money from the families and then disappear.”
19th November is World Toilet day. The village may not see toilets this year but you can help ensure that by 19th November 2013 the village has proper toilets.
Call to Action: Please call the Chief Contractor of Khunti, Mr Baitha at 06528221715 or 09386913768 and pressurise him to ensure that the raw materials in Nichtpur are utilised towards making proper toilets for the residents of the village.
Article by: Kayonaaz Kalyanwala