The tribals of 106 villages in Madhya Pradesh have either demolished government made toilets or are using them as storerooms, say government officials, admitting that one of the reasons behind this was faulty design.
This happened just 450 kilometres from Bhopal in Sheopur district villages where the government had built about 13,000 ‘roofless, waterless and three-walled structures’ in the name of toilets in 2008-09 under its rural sanitation scheme.
Many families of Saharia tribe now use these toilets as storerooms or have demolished them and used the bricks in constructing their houses.
Sheopur Janpad chief executive officer TN Swami too admitted that most of the toilets constructed earlier in Karahal block were in a pathetic condition and many of them had been demolished by the tribals.
He said the construction of new toilets in these villages would be started soon.
Pappu Adivasi, 40, resident of Pandwada village, said, "Residents of our village defecate in the open. The toilets were constructed five years back but most of us didn’t use them due to lack of water supply."
Another villager Gangaram Adivasi, 45, said, "The toilets were very close to our huts due to which most of us avoided using them as we believe it may spread various diseases in the villages."
Government officials admitted that the design and construction of the toilets had been of very poor quality and said that it was partly because the land in the villages was rocky.
They admitted that almost all the villages of the block face severe water scarcity and said that convincing the Saharias to use toilets was also a big challenge before the district administration.
"Only Rs 2,200 per toilet was allotted by the government at that time. But now the amount has been increased to Rs 12,000 per toilet," said Sheopur sanitation officer Bhagyeshwari Sharma.
She said the government had started constructing toilets in four tribal villages — Fatehpur, Malipura, Mayapur and Heerapur under the new scheme.
In the first phase, the toilets would be constructed across 34 panchayats, she said.