‘No toilets? No vegetables or haircut’ is the mantra adopted by Bhuteda village of Ratlam district to force slackers to adopt the Swachh Bharat mission.
To achieve the coveted open-defecation free status, villagers here have decided to stop deliveries of essential items such as vegetables to those who have not constructed toilets in their homes, while a barber pasted a poster essentially banning people who defecate in the open.
“I had attended a training session of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan a few days ago. I discussed with the villagers that open defecation is not only a bad habit but can also have a negative impact on health. After this, the villagers decided to take several initiatives,” said Lokesh Sharma, the man behind the unique initiative.
Among others who joined Sharma’s cause was a vegetable vendor, Dhuribai, and Amaru Lal Sen, the only barber in the village.
“Whenever a person who defecates in the open comes to my shop, I humbly refuse to give him a shave or give him and his family members a haircut. But I also tell him that if he constructs a toilet in his house and starts using it, I will give free service on the first visit to my saloon,” said Sen.
The pioneers also have to taken it upon themselves to go around the village each day stopping people from relieving themselves in the open.
Taking their cause further, the villagers are now planning to socially boycott people who still do not have a toilet.
“Villagers are trying their best. After this campaign, many people have started constructing toilets, but still there are a few people who are not showing interest in giving up their habit. Hence, we are also planning to boycott these families,” said village sarpanch Bharat Malviya. Sharma said the villagers were trying to achieve the target of becoming open-defecation free by March 16.