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MP panchayat warning: Use toilets or face bar on water, rations

A village council in Madhya Pradesh’s Harda issued a stern warning to villagers who defecate in the open, instead of at newly constructed public toilets.

bhopal Updated: Nov 22, 2015 18:12 IST

A village council in Madhya Pradesh’s Harda issued a stern warning to villagers who defecate in the open, instead of at newly constructed public toilets.

Eight families from Hadia village in the district have been penalized by the panchayat and have been warned that if they fail to stop the age-old ritual of morning absolution in the open, they will be barred from purchasing monthly provisions from the village fair price shop and their water supply connections would be cut off.

The panchyat on Friday- a day after the World Toilets Day- wrote a letter to the owner of the village fair price shop not to provide the monthly quota of provisions to the eight families as they were not following its diktat to make the village open-defecation free (ODF), said sarpanch Sanju Verma.

The panchayat has also sent a letter to the public health engineering department, asking it to disconnect the drinking water supply of these eight families. Besides it has also imposed a fine of Rs 200 on each of them, she said.

“Toilets have been constructed by the panchayat in front of their houses more than a year back and several times they have been asked to use them. I have personally requested them several times, but they still continue to defecate in the open,” Sanju Verma said.

Toilets give a much-needed push to hygiene and sanitation, safety of women and girls as well as aesthetics of a village, but the panchayat members knew that the lessons about hygiene were tough to teach without a fine rap.

More than the fine, the effective deterrent was to shame people who fail to follow the village council’s decision, she said.

The ODF movement picked up steam in the district after the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan or the Clean India mission was launched by PM Narendra Modi in October 2014.

While addressing the nation on his popular bi-monthly radio programme-- Mann Ki Baat-- in July, the PM had appreciated the district administration’s unique campaign “Brother No 1” in which a brother who builds toilet as a “Rakshabandhan gift” for his sister is the best. After the PM’s appreciation, panchayats across the district have been competing with other to become “totally ODF”.

District collector Srikant Banoth said “Operation Mallyudha”--to combat open-defecation-- was being carrying out in the district on a “war-footing” under Swachchha Bharat Abhiyan.

“Village panchayats are constitutional bodies and they have the right to take decisions. But, we will ensure that villagers, who defecate in the open, should not be deprived of basic civic amenities,” he said.