House destroyed in cyclone, family of five in Odisha lives in a toilet
The family’s house which was damaged during cyclone Phalin on 2013 became completely unlivable more than two and a half years ago.Updated: Jun 14, 2020 22:02 IST
A woman ward member in Odisha’s Nayagarh district has been living inside a toilet with her family members for over two and a half years after failing to get a house under either Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana or Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana.
Banita Senapati, a ward member of Thanapallipatna village of Surkabadi gram panchayat of Nayagarh district, about 85 km southeast of the capital Bhubaneswar, claims she has been forced to live in a toilet with her husband, mother-in-law and two children after their house which was damaged during cyclone Phalin in 2013, became completely unlivable two and half years ago.
The family shifted to the toilet that had been constructed under Swachh Bharat Mission. Their plight came to light following social media posts.
Senapati’s husband, Ramesh Senapati, a daily labourer tried hard to get a house under the government scheme, but his name never appeared in the list. “He met local BDO as well as other officials pleading for sanction of a house, but all that he got was empty promise,” said Banita.
The family has spread out a tin sheet on the toilet floor to cover the pan. The toilet also doubles up as a kitchen as they cook food in one corner and keep clothes in another corner. While the ward member, her daughter and mother-in-law sleep inside the toilet, her husband and son sleep outside.
“My getting elected as a ward member has not helped me in any way. While the government talks about empowering panchayati raj institutions, this is how the elected PRI members are forced to stay,” she said.
Sarpanch Minati Sahu also expressed her helplessness saying she had personally requested officials to add her family in the PMAY list, but without any result.
The government says it is not aware of her plight.
Project director of the district rural development agency in Nayagarh, Subash Ray said the administration was not aware of the problem of the ward member. “We will conduct an inquiry and do whatever necessary to help the family,” he said.
In December last year, a 72-year-old widow in Mayurbhanj district was found to be living in a toilet for over three years after failing to get accommodation from the state government. The woman, Draupadi Behera slept inside the toilet while her family, including grandson and daughter, slept outside.
In March this year, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said his government would provide 20 lakh concrete houses to the poor in the next four years. Patnaik said that the state government has already provided 25 lakh concrete houses to the people.