It has been a long wait for the residents of Ahimchak village of Katihar district in Bihar who had been looking forward to their incentives to start building their toilets.
The Indian Government used to provide an incentive of Rs 10,000 (currently raised to 15,000), in installments, for each toilet constructed by a Below Poverty Line (BPL) family under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA)as part of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan Programme. Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan also called the Total Sanitation Campaign was a programme following the principles of community-led total sanitation (CLTS) initiated by the Government of India in 1999.
However, when the residents of Ahimchak village approached their village head, he asked them to deposit Rs. 900 in his account in order to release their money. They couldn't afford to pay this amount with their meager income. Also, the few who paid the village head were never given their incentives. Due to lack of toilets, men and women went out in the open for defecation under unhygienic conditions. That is when Community Correspondent Navita, a resident of the same village, decided to make a video on this issue and follow it up with the concerned authorities with full support from her community.
In this video from Puri, Odisha, the RTI activist is badly assaulted and he alleges that the Police is protecting the culprits because of the political ideology and patronage of the ruling party of Odisha.
Our community correspondents operate as citizen journalists in their own community and bring the issues to the larger world through video reports. As a part of this process of transformation, we include government officials to play an important part.