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Govt school teacher among eight penalised for defecating in open in Bihar’s Rohtas district

In a first, Bihar has penalised eight persons of two panchayats in Rohtas district for defecating in the open. Amiyawar and Paduri are among 137 of the 245 gram panchayats in Rohtas that have been declared ODF.

india Updated: Jul 18, 2017 18:01 IST
Prasun K Mishra
Prasun K Mishra
Hindustan Times, Sasaram
ODF,open defecation,Rohtas district
Caught and penalised for defecating in the open in Bihar’s Rohtas district.(HT photo)

Eight persons were penalised Rs 1,000 each for defecating in the open at the Amiyawar and Paduri panchayats in Nasariganj block of Rohtas district on Monday.

This is arguably the first time that someone was penalised for defecating in the open in Bihar, which has a sanitation coverage of 30.62% - the lowest in India.

A district level special squad for ODF surveillance cracked the whip on eight persons - among them a middle school teacher of Bharkol village - when it found them defecating in the open on Monday.

“The guilty were brought to the local primary school, where villagers rebuked them. They were let off with a stern warning, but not before realising Rs 1,000 each as fine for their act,” said district public relations officer Dharmvir Singh.

Amiyawar and Paduri are among 137 of the 245 gram panchayats in Rohtas that have been declared ODF. The Nasriganj block, which comprises 12 panchayats is scheduled to be declared ODF by July 28.

The ‘dirty’ act pinched the ODF vigilantes because Rohtas is at the cusp of being declared ODF - the first in Bihar.

“Six out of 19 blocks in the district have been declared ODF and those remaining are in the final stages of completion. We hope to declare the entire district ODF by July 30,” said district magistrate Animesh Kumar Parashar.

“We have decided to take stern action against defaulters. They can be fined or even jailed under provisions of causing public nuisance. It’s sad that despite our best efforts, a few people are still not leaving the age-old practice,” the DM added.

Asked if this was the first time in Bihar that people had been penalised for defecating in the open, director of the Lohiya Swakshata Mission, Bihar, Balamurugan D, said: “I cannot recall any such previous instance of authorities realising fine in the state, but it has been done in other states.”

In an earlier communication to states, the Centre had directed them to impose fines for littering, open defecation and public urination, as the NDA government’s flagship Swachh Bharat Mission had failed to have the desired effect in urban areas.

Littering or urinating in public places could invite penalties ranging between Rs 200 and Rs 5,000.

In a communication to all chief secretaries, the urban development ministry had asked states to impose penalties in at least one ward in each city by April 30, all wards in 10-15 cities by the end of the year and all wards in all cities by September 30, 2018.

The ministry has set a strict time frame for states to provide an adequate number of public toilets and ensure facilities for garbage collection. States have been told to ensure there are public toilets, door-to-door garbage collection facilities and adequate dustbins at public places in wards where the fines kick in.

India hopes to become ODF by October 2, 2019.

First Published: Jul 18, 2017 18:01 IST