UP villager who sold his goats to build toilet gets reward, and a new flock, in return
Jabbar Shah, the villager from Uttar Pradesh who sold his flock of seven goats to build a toilet for his family, is a happy man many times over.
Thanks to the attention that his action triggered, Jabbar was given administrative sanction for the toilet, added to the list of potential beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna and shortlisted for a ration card. And, he’s got a new flock of seven goats.
“I was ashamed and distressed that amidst the rising awareness against open defecation, the womenfolk in my household were still going behind the wheat fields to answer nature’s call,” Jabbar explained.
“I had sought help from the village pradhan and some district officers responsible for my area. But, I did not get any help. Eventually, I sold off all the seven goats for Rs 15,000 and constructed the toilet a fortnight ago,” said the 55-year-old resident of Navada village in Laharpur tehsil of Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district.
Jabbar, who on average used to earn about Rs 100 to Rs 150 per day, sold his goats though they were an integral part of his livelihood. They provided milk to the children, who treated them like pets. His family comprises of a married daughter, her husband, a minor grand-daughter, and two minor grandsons. His wife is no more.
Jabbar’s story went up on social media while the plaster on the toilet shed was still fresh. And politician took notice.
The story reached Samajwadi Party (SP) national president and former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who asked Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) Anand Bhadauria to go to the village investigate. If the story was true, Bhadauria was told, then buy seven goats and give it to Jabbar.
“We found the story true. We (the SP leaders and workers in the areas) bought seven goats--that are bigger and better than what he had--for Rs 22,000 and gave them to Jabbar on Saturday,” said Bhadauria.
The next day, the local media published the story, which galvanized the administration. The Block Development Officer (BDO), Laharpur, Rabia Begum reached the village with all the necessary paperwork executed.
“Jabbar is extremely poor. He doesn’t have a pucca house. The entire family lives in a thatched-roof hut. He is landless. The sanction for his toilet has come in. Rs 12,000, the sanctioned amount, has been transferred to his account. He will get a house under PM Yojna and a ration card too,” Rabia Begum said.
But Bhadauria attacked the administration for the delay. Pointing to the backdated paperwork for the toilet, Bhadauria said that “that too was taken, perhaps, to save the government embarrassment.”