Bharatpur: The Bharatpur Zila Parishad (district council) has formed a committee to look into ground realities in the villages declared open defecation free (ODF).
The district council move comes after Hindustan Times published a report in its February 23 edition highlighting how people in the ODF villages were still defecating in the open.
The chief executive officer of the district council, Ansh Deep said the committee members will visit ODF villages mentioned in the HT report and convince the villagers to use toilets. “We will tell them that the ODF tag for their panchayat is useless, unless they give up the habit of defecating in the open,” he said.
Out of 1,433 villages in Bharatpur district, 396 have been declared ODF – 49 in 2015-16 and 347 in 2016-17 – but an HT investigation had found that many people in the ODF villages still preferred to answer the nature’s call in the open. The investigation found that in Madoni, Nigohi, Rarah, Aghapur and Malah gram panchayats villagers defecated in the open despite having toilets at home. Some villagers cited old habits, while others gave lack of water availability at homes as the reason for open defecation.
The district has 10 block level panchayat samitis comprising 374 gram panchayats. Sewar panchayat samiti comprising 33 gram panchayats has been declared completely ODF. Out of the 374 panchayats in the district, 103 have been declared ODF. There are 5.65 lakh households in the district. Of them, 1,72,807 had toilets built under the Swachh Bharat Mission till 2016. Bharatpur was ranked 25 among Rajasthan districts under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).
Zila Parishad member Nem Singh said villagers have been unable to use toilets due to shortages of water. “Government should provide water in villages to use toilets,” he added. Each person needs approximately 10 litre water to use toilet in a day, but one or half liter water to defecate in the open, he said.