Thursday, August 4, 2016

Open defecators caught with pants down given civic lessons

As the deadline for making villages `open defecation free’ is fast approaching , officials in Faridabad have adopted a novel method to ensure it is not missed.

They wake up in the dead of night, rush to remote villages and catch red-handed people defecating under bushes and open farmlands. They then take help of the village elders to teach them civic lessons.

There are 116 panchayats in Faridabad district alone, out of which 47 have woman sarpanchs.
The district administration of Faridabad set the deadline of August 15 for making these 47 villages free from open defecation. A detailed presentation was made by senior state government officers before all 116 sarpanchs in Faridabad recently.

After being educated on how open defecation causes health hazard and how cleanliness improves the quality of life, the sarpanches took oath to make their villages free from open defecation.

Two dates were finalised . For 47 villages headed by women sarpanches, August 15, 2016 is the deadline. For the remaining villages headed by male sarpanches, November 1, 2016 is the deadline for making the villages free from open defecation.

“We educate people in our village to use toilets and do not go for open for defecation”, said Kamlesh, Sarpanch of Samaipur village. “Some people living on rent in our village mostly defecate in the open. But we have told them that by August 15 our village has to be free from open defecation”, she said.

But with the deadline approaching, officials cannot take a chance. They started visiting the villages open defecation is prevalent.

Government officers hold meetings at the spot where people defecate in the open. “It becomes difficult for villagers to meet due to the bad smell. We make them realize the bad effects of open defecation on their health”, said a senior state government officer.

“I visit such villages early in the morning, especially areas where people defecate in the open. Yes, I do see some people with bottles of water, defecating in the open”, said Upendra Singh, district consultant, Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).

“I and some elders in the village advise such people,” Upendra said.

A civic lesson in progress
An old lady Ramvati, 70, a resident of Samaipur village, remains deployed with a lathi in her hands at a particular point in the village where people defecate. “When people come for defecation, my mother questions them and sends them back home,” said her son Harish. “ She advises them to use the toilet and the people follow,” he added.

“ We are confident that even some panchayats headed by male sarpanches will be made free from open defecation by August 15 though their deadline is November 1”, a senior officer said. “The poor who do not have toilets are getting financial assistance for constructing toilets,” the officials said.


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