Government officials in Ranchi’s outskirts are rushing to have a toilet built for a tribal man whose wife has threatened to divorce him unless he gets one constructed at their home.
For months, Mahavir Oraon didn’t take his wife’s request seriously, partly because of his own financial problems. But he panicked after his wife, Karmi, threated to walk out on their one-year-old marriage.
Oraon then rushed to local government officials, pleading to save his marriage by helping him get a toilet constructed at his house in Ranchi’s Itki locality.
“We have taken his request seriously and have subsequently directed the village water and sanitation committee to construct a toilet at Oroan’s house at the earliest,” the Block Development Officer, Devdas Dutta, said.
Local officials have hailed Karmi for her ‘courageous’ act and is considering making the couple a mascot in their drive to push hygiene in Jharkhand.
In a letter to the BDO, Oroan, a resident of Mukhmandro village under Luhna Panchayat in Ratu block, said his wife, who is from Ranchi, had been complaining since the second day of their marriage about the lack of a toilet in the house as she was not used to going into the open to answer nature’s call.
Local panchayat head, Silwanti Devi, said: “We are yet to adapt to the practice of having toilets at home. In Mukhmandro, out of 250 households, (a) few have proper toilets.”
Villagers said a few roofless toilets were constructed around six years back by the water and sanitation department but none is functional as they were not provided with water supply.
Jharkhand ranks amongst the worst in India in sanitation. More than 91% people in rural areas do not have access to toilets. The 2011 census said only 7.7% of rural population had access to proper toilets.
Jharkhand police records state that 25% of rapes in rural areas are committed against from women going into the open to defecate.