Toilet travails

“When we hear of villages getting open defecation free, we feel our village exists in 18th or 19th century,” says a woman from a village in Varanasi

GN Bureau | November 8, 2016


#Narendra Modi   #Toilets   #Green Gang   #Swachh Bharat   #Open Defecation   #Varanasi  


“Toilets are being built. I ask, where?” wonders Asha Devi, a 38-year-old native of Khushiyari village near Varanasi. The village in prime minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency doesn’t have a single toilet. Women in the village have been demanding toilets for past two years, without success.

“We have written several letters, tweeted our complaints and run from pillar to post to get at least one toilet in the village. Our letters are never replied. Why?” she laments. This in sharp contrast to the speedy response to a request by a couple from neighbouring Mirzapur who wanted their daughter to be named by the prime minister. The response in that case was prompt.

In June this year, Asha narrated to Governance Now the agony of the women of her village. “Mornings are indeed the worst time of the day for me as I have to walk 5 km every day to answer nature’s call. I have to rush so as to finish off and return before the sun is up. If the sun rises, I have no option but to hold on till evening – no matter what. When I was a child, I remember, I had hopes that villages of our country would be better off by the time I grow up. I am in my late 30s now and there is still no toilet in my home in Khushiyari village [on the outskirts of Varanasi, population: about 3,000]. Such is the agony every woman here has to suffer, day in and day out,” she wrote. Read full article here

Asha says that no one in her village has received the amount (Rs 12,000 allocated for constructing one individual household latrine). “We understand that there might be certain issues with funds and budget. But then the government has also failed to provide public toilets complexes as well. Almost everyone goes out in fields. No NGO, no PSU have come to donate us a toilet because we are a nondescript village on the map.”

Asha leads a nascent movement called Green Gang, named after the colour of their sari. The women groomed by university and college students put a check on gambling and domestic violence. For two years they shifted their focus on getting a few toilets for their people. “We are losing hope now. Some women who were volunteering eagerly earlier have lost enthusiasm,” she says.

 “When we hear of villages getting open defecation free, we feel our village exists in 18th or 19th century,” she adds.

Earlier this year, the chief development officer of Varanasi district had acknowledged the need for 50 toilets including individual toilets and toilet complexes.  Funds for constructing these were never released. Villagers have also signed several applications and sent it to central and state government, but to no avail.
 

Comments

 

Other News

An eye on AI

Google Assistant, Rekognition and Tay. All these, often seen in news, have a common thread – they are powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Only difference is that while some have been in news for right reasons, some others have made it to the headlines for all the wrong reasons. For instance, Goo

Data-powered economy

1.33 billion. Let that large number sink in. That number is nearly 18 percent of the total global population, and almost the number of people estimated to currently reside in the republic of India, one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies. These 1.33 billion people are spread across a

Dams or time bombs?

Kerala is limping back to normal after the devastating floods that wreaked havoc in the state prompting red alert in all 14 of its districts. While the rescue activities and immediate relief are now a thing of the past, the state is struggling to turn a new page and the focus is on reconstruction an

The imprint of the Gurjara Pratiharas

On August 16, when the country lost its beloved former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a nondescript village, 70 km from Agra, came into the limelight. Bateshwar, the ancestral village of Vajpayee, is situated along the notorious Chambal ravines on the banks of the Yamuna. Vajpayee&rsq

Imagining the worst

Love Sonia is not a film you would want to watch if you knew its subject: sex trafficking. Without even a scene experienced, the subject induces visceral revulsion. However optimistic the screenplay, it can only deal in ugly dregs and bring up retching bile. Even so, Love Sonia, gritty an

India’s balancing act with China

On the first day of his August 19-20 visit to India, when Japanese defence minister Itsunori Onodera held talks with his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman, several defence and strategic-related issues had cropped up in their annual talks. But a big smile flashed on Sithraman’s face when Onodera,

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter