It’s a sight that will put you off eating any food cooked at the place.
A toilet in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhatarpur district has been turned into a kitchen, while another has been converted into a small grocery shop, exposing the tall claims of the government over swachhta abhiyan (cleanliness campaign).
In the district’s Kodan village, Dinesh Yadav has changed his toilet into a kitchen because the septic tank was not constructed. His wife Sushela told reporters that although the money under the scheme was transferred to their beneficiary account, it was the sarpanch in their village who constructed the toilet.
“Our toilet was also constructed by him. We gave him the money transferred into our account. But so far the toilet has not been completed. We still go out for attending nature’s call”, he said.
On the Deri road of Chhatarpur town, one Laxman Kushwaha, a labourer, has opened a grocery shop in his toilet as the septic tank was not properly built by the contractor has, sources said.
Neelam, 17, eldest daughter of the labourer said though the toilet was built but the septic tank was very small and not constructed properly. “We complained to officials about it but no one listened to us. So my father decided to open a grocery shop in it. It was constructed around six months ago. Our family members still go out in the open for attending nature’s call”, she said.
When contacted, DK Maurya, additional district magistrate (ADM) Chhatarpur and in-charge CEO Zila Panchyat told HT that authorities would probe why the villagers in the two areas had turned their toilets into a kitchen and a grocery shop respectively.
“We have a target to make our district ODF by October this year. Against a target of building 1.96 lakh toilets in rural areas, so far 55000 toilets have been constructed. I admit there are some problems in the implementation of this scheme. We are taking action against those found guilty and reckless. Strict action has been taken and district coordinator has been shunted out for lapses”, he said.
When contacted, Kamta Gupta, chief municipal officer Chhatarpur Nagar Palika told HT that against a target of constructing 2822 toilets in Chhatarpur city, around 1600 have been constructed so far. “I am sending officials to look into why on the Deri road, which falls under our area, a toilet is being used as a grocery shop”, he said.
RK Thapak, convener Social Media Foundation, a local NGO, alleged there were irregularities in the construction of toilets under Samgra Swachhta Abhiyan in rural and urban areas of the district.
- In Chhatarpur district, 39.3 % households have toilet facility, against 53.39 % households in the entire state.
- Of MP’s 51 districts, Indore and Harda have been declared ODF.
- 27.11 % villages in MP have been declared ODF
“Many sarpanchs and secretaries are working as contractors and they tell villagers that if they construct the toilets on their own, the inspection officer may not approve the construction. So they ask them to get their toilets constructed through them. This needs a thorough investigation,” he said.
The Centre, under Swachh Bharat Mission has set a target to make the country open defecation-free (ODF) by October 2, 2019, which coincides with the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Madhya Pradesh has nearly 55000 villages and district administrations are racing against time to ensure their respective districts are declared ODF as soon as possible.