Uttarakhand officials have got a go-ahead from a local deity, ‘Nag Devta’, to construct about 400 toilets in eight villages of Uttarkashi, after locals opposed the project, which comes under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet scheme Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
Villagers of Chinyalisaud block in Uttarkashi, where the toilets were to be constructed, had expressed their reservations on the construction of the toilets, following which the officials approached a ‘Peshwa’, believed to be an incarnation of the ‘Nag Devta’, who gave the go-ahead on Wednesday.
“The villagers fear toilets will bring bad luck to them,” RK Pande, additional district magistrate (ADM), told HT.
As per reports, some of the villagers said they had a “bad” experience after the toilets were constructed. Many of them even razed their toilets. On learning that the locals worshipped ‘Nag Devta’, a team of officials led by joint magistrate N K Khandelwal visited one Kyari village, where the temple of deity is located.
At a ‘mahapanchayat’, they tried hard to convince the villagers about the benefits of toilets.
“The case was pleaded before the Peshwa – an incarnation of the local deity – who finally gave the nod for constructions of the toilets,” the ADM said.
The officials maintained before the ‘Peshwa’ that toilets will ensure sanitation in the village. Approving the project, the Peshwa directed that no toilet should be built near the temple.
Roughly 400 toilets will be constructed in eight villages, which have 600 families, Pande said.
Hundreds of local deities are worshipped across the hill state. Moreover, every village has its own deity, apart from some prominent deities worshipped in a particular belt.