Man out to relieve himself trampled to death by elephants in ODF Jharkhand
The incident exposes the state government’s claim of making Jharkhand open defecation free. Residents of Nurgi village, where the incident took place, still defecate in the open despite having toilets.Updated: Dec 06, 2018 15:26 IST
A 61-year-old man was trampled to death by a herd of elephants on Thursday morning when he went out of his house to relieve himself in a village declared open defecation free (ODF) in Jharkhand’s Jamtara district.
The man identified as Rustam Ansari, a farmer in Narayanpur block’s Nurgi village, was reportedly suffered from a hearing problem. The village is around 230km east of state capital Ranchi.
Forest ranger officer of Narayanpur Arun Kumar Singh said the incident took place around 6.30am when he went to relieve himself in a farm, hardly 50 meters from his home.
Singh said the herd of 18 elephants, including four calves, has come from Tundi in Dhanbad district and entered the village on Wednesday night.
“Our team drove away the herd from the village post midnight. However, they returned to the village again in the morning and killed the old man while he was relieving himself,” Singh said.
After a protest by the villagers, the forest department handed over a cheque of Rs 25,000 to Ansari’s family and assured them they will give the compensation amount of Rs 4 lakh soon.
The incident has exposed the government’s claim of making Jharkhand an open defecation free (ODF) state. Chief minister Raghubar Das on November 15 declared rural Jharkhand ODF.
The government claimed that over 33 lakh individual toilets were constructed in rural Jharkhand in the past four years. In rural Jamtara, over 96,000 toilets were built during the period to achieve the ODF tag.
Villagers said even though toilets were built in the village a majority of residents still practice open defecation.
“Toilets are there in our houses. But, we are practising open defecation for several decades. How can we change the habit immediately?” Haroon Rafique, a villager, asked.
Ruksana Biwi, another resident of the village, said the toilet was very small, which causes difficulties.
Officials termed it lack of awareness and Narayanpur’s block development officer (BDO) Maheswari Yadav said there is a “100% toilet coverage” in the village.
“We came to know some people of the village still practising open defecation due to unawareness. We will soon launch an awareness programme in the village to ensure 100% toilet usage,” Yadav said.
There are 149 families comprising a population of 835 people in Nurgi village, according to the 2011 Census.
First Published: Dec 06, 2018 15:26 IST