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At Chhattisgarh’s ODF village, toilets being stolen: Women tell cops

RAIPUR: Highlighting yet another mockery of Prime Minister’s ambitious Swachch Bharat campaign, a 75-year-old woman and her daughter in Pendra region of Bilaspur have written separate complaints to police that the toilets at their home have either gone missing or have been stolen.

The women hailing from Amarpur village had actually written an application to janpad requesting to construct a toilet at their home, but they were told that as per the records it has already been built. Surprised and feeling cheated, both of them decided to report the matter to police saying, “If the administration has built toilet at my home, it’s no where to be seen on my premises, hence, it might have got stolen,” said the 75-year old Bela Patel.
Ironically, the Pendra region under which the village falls was declared Open Defecation Free during Rajyotsav in November 2016, while there are still several homes waiting for the toilets to be built.
“Few raise voice, others don’t. But the purpose of Swachch Bharat isn’t solved despite blocks being declared ODF,” said an activist.

Amid irregularities coming to fore in many parts of state under Swachch Bharat campaign, this seems to be a unique case wherein residents have lodged a complaint to police regarding missing toilets.
Pendra police said that when the duo told them about toilets being stolen, they were shocked and couldn’t understand the context. But when they wrote a complaint, it was clear that they weren’t provided toilet at all despite being promised and in order to investigate the matter, they have approached the police.
Talking to TOI, Pendra police station incharge Nicholas Xalxo said, “Both the women are mother and daughter in relationship and are presently living together. They have written separate complaints on the same issue. Police are investigating the case as of now and would tally if their names are recorded in the panchayat and janpad for building toilets.”

He added that this is one of its case in the region which has become talk of the town.
According to the complaint, Bela and her daughter Chanda Patel had written application to Janpad to construct toilet at their homes under Swachch Bharat campaign.

Acting sarcastic Bela said, “I am unaware that a toilet has already been built at my home! If the officials aren’t lying and I can’t find any toilet at my home, I assume it to be stolen. Hence, I decided to make a police complaint. Let police search the toilet of my home.”

Amarpur village sarpanch Savitri Devi shrugging off the allegations said, “The allegation of toilet being stolen is baseless and imaginary. The amount has been sanctioned by janpad and the toilet would be constructed soon. It takes a little time as there’s a lot of work to do in repair work of already built toilets.”
Many parts of Chhattisgarh which have been declared ODF were found to be only on papers while ground reality displays that people were still struggling to get toilets at their homes or were still going to defecate in open.

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