Swachh Bharat Abhiyan claims to have constructed around 80 lakhs toilets around the countryside across India yet our Community correspondent Saroj Paraste reports a completely different picture of what is happening in Madhya Pradesh’s hinterlands. Over 250 families are struggling to relieve themselves in dignity as the village’s need for sanitation is ignored by the Village Head. “
It is very difficult. Where will the children go? Where will girls and daughters go?” asks Kousalya, mother of a young girl herself.
According to the UN, sanitation – access to, and use of, excreta and wastewater facilities and services such as clean toilets is a basic human right. But the lack of toilets has been a pressing issue since 2013 in this village of Patnakala, in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh.
The budget for toilets was approved years ago in 2013 under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan, the precussor to the now famous Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan. The residents however hint that the funds were siphoned by the Village head since he has shown no enthusiasm towards providing the residents of the village with sanitation facilities. “The village head keeps on telling us to dig holes. But even today, these holes aren’t made into toilets,” reveals Kousalya. Dharan Kumar, a fellow resident tells Saroj that they had seen the raw material for toilets come in, “But no one knows where these materials vanished,”. The Village head remained unavailable for comment.
In rural areas, the percentage of persons going for open defecation was estimated to be 52.1 per cent as mentioned in Rapid Survey on ‘Swachhta’ Status conducted by the NSSO during May-June 2015 covering 3,788 villages and 2,907 urban blocks. Lack of toilets give rise to not just open defecation and other sanitation issues that go hand in hand with it but also the matter of manual scavenging. If that is not bad enough then the health problems that arise for these women while trying not to relieve themselves is a matter of grave concern.
Several complaints later, the residents of Patnakala are still struggling to live a life of dignity yet no heed is paid to their problems. Call Vasanti Dhurve, CEO of the concerned district on +91-9425808705 and help Patnakala residents in their struggle to lead a life where basic human right is ensured to them.
Community correspondent Saroj Paraste reports from Madhya Pradesh for Video Volunteers.
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