Small toilets, lack of water force people to open defecation

Small toilets, lack of water force people to open defecation

Small toilets, lack of water force people to open defecation

 The Modi government may have succeeded in building toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission, but a large number of them are not used by the beneficiaries.

Many of the rural folk found the toilets too small, uncomfortable and stinking, mainly due to non-availability of water for flushing them after use. Parliament’s Estimates Committee stumbled across these findings as they were reviewing the Ganga Rejuvenation Initiative of the Modi government.

The committee found that open field defecation in villages along the banks of River Ganga and discharge of untreated waste water was also a significant cause of pollution.

“... the toilets being built under the Swachh/Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan are not being used by beneficiaries as they lack privacy, comfort and generate a stinking smell forcing the family members to defecate in the open fields thereby defeating the very purpose of provision of the toilets at their homes,” the committee said in its report presented to Parliament.

A recent survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation showed that as many as 52.1% people in rural areas were still defecating in the open compared to 7.5 % in urban areas.

The nationwide rapid survey conducted between May-June 2015, found that 45.3% rural households had a sanitary toilet, while in urban areas, the figure stood at 88.8%.

The lowest percentage of households having sanitary toilets was reported in Jharkhand (18.8%), Chhattisgarh (21.2%) and Odisha (26.3%). The States with the highest numbers were Sikkim (98.2%), Kerala (97.6 %) and Mizoram (96.2%). In Karnataka, 47% households were found to have sanitary toilets.

According to the report, 13.1 % of the villages and 42% urban wards had community toilets. However, they were not being used in 1.7% villages and 1.6% urban wards. Also, in 22.6% of the villages and 8.6%  urban wards, community toilets were not being cleaned.

The survey also found that only 42.5% rural household had access to water for use in the toilets, while in urban households this figure was 87.9% .

Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched on October 2, 2014, poor families get Rs 12,000 for building one toilet and provision of water for storing, hand-washing and cleaning it.