This village 'fines' its way to toilet

Preventing alcoholism

Gaavirala, a nondescript village in Koppal has successfully handled two major social problems - alcoholism and hygiene - in a single go.

Residents, who drink and indulge in brawls and trouble women and children have to pay a fine at this village in Yalburga taluk.

Even the sale of liquor is banned and a fine is imposed on people violating it. The fine, thus collected, is loaned to residents who are interested in constructing toilets at their houses. More than Rs 1.5 lakh has been collected through fine so far. 

The elders in the village said that the penalty was introduced in the year 2008. Since then, instances of people indulging in drinking and brawls has drastically come down, they added.

“The people who create ruckus after drinking are first warned and given a chance to mend their ways. However, if they again create trouble, a fine of Rs 2,500 is levied on them,” said Gram Panchayat member Shankrappa Maalekoppa. “As many as 11 people have been extended loan from the fine amount to construct toilets. Four toilets have already been completed,” he added.

“It is mandatory for the residents to repay the loan extended at the rate of interest of two per cent per annum. A considerable time is given for the repayment,” Maalekoppa said and added that repayment would ensure that the benefit could be extended to more people.

“We have levied the fine even on our brothers. Irrespective of who the offender is, he will be punished,” said Doddaveerappa, a senior citizen.

The villagers recalled an incident where two youths, in spite of several warnings, didn’t give up selling liquor. After a fine of Rs 7,000 was levied on each them, they promptly gave it up.

In another incident, a man completely gave up drinking after he was fined five times, they said.

On one hand, the residents give up drinking, while, the amount collected through fine comes in handy for the construction of toilets on the other, said Maruti, a local leader. However, people still lack awareness on the importance of toilets.

This is our small step towards establishing a clean and hygiene village, he added.

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