It is just in name at Malur

Total Sanitation Campaign

It is just in name at Malur

EASY ALTERNATIVE: Sulabha Shouchalayas were constructed years back in four major places in Malur, funded by the SFI. But, since the toilet is forever closed and locked, students of the Junior College often urinate on its walls.  DH PHOTO

For, the rate of toilets constructed in the taluk is a mere 25 per cent.   The scheme, under which the Government provides Rs. 3,000 to each family for constructing toilet, is being implemented since five years but residents in many villages are not even aware of its existence. Apart from showing a documentary on use of toilet, the officials have not initiated any measure to educate people on toilet use, it is said.

Social acceptability

However, lack of social acceptability for toilets at homes is only one of the factors hindering the success of the campaign. Corruption in panchayats ensures that the benefits of the scheme do not reach the needy, with fake bills being made for non-existent toilets. It is common practice for panchayat staff to share the subsidy with willing accomplices, and fake documentation made to support bills, such as photographs of existing toilets or those under construction.

Although a focused effort was to be made to achieve the Total Sanitation in 2009-10 places like Shivarapatna, Hungenahalli, Kondashettanahalli, Santhehalli and villages falling under Lakkur Panchayat, progress in all the villages is low.

As many as Rs three lakh has been granted to each five panchayats but their success rate is just 40 per cent. “Despite sensitising people on toilets use for hygiene, they continue to defecate in open fields,” complain the officials. “Many families have received the grant only to misuse it,” they added.

However, Bhadrappa of Kodur in Lakkur Panchayat limits said the fund is not sufficient to build a toilet. There is some truth in the complaint. Normally, the construction is with four stone slabs, three as walls and one as roof. But with price of stone slabs shooting up to 1,500 to 2,000 each, thanks to the construction boom in Bangalore, and the price of cement and the commode to boot, the cost of constructing a toilet can go up to 8,000.
Hence, many say, the subsidy is unrealistic and is not enough incentice for families to construct a toilet.

Nor are there community toilets in the villages, which, at least for women would be boon. Women are the worst affected in villages, as for lack toilets, they tend to relieve themselves either before dawn or after dusk.

Controlling the bodily functions during the 12 hours intervening, according to medical experts are the main cause of many of the gynecological and stomach-related problems that rural women suffer, such as urine infection. Besides, the tendency to relieve themselves after dusk, also makes them vulnerable to sexual predators.

The four Sulabh toilets built at a cost of Rs 10 lakh under the SFC Grant of the Town Municipal Council a few years  back, are yet to be opened for the public use. That is indicative of the officers’ apathy to sanitation, even while making patronising remarks about the rural people’s reluctance to build and use toilets.  Speaking with Deccan Herald Taluk Panchayat Executive Officer E Ramakrishnappa said a team of panchayat secretaries will be formed in all the five panchayats to create awareness among the people about hygiene. Besides, school students will also be sensitised on the issue. What good would it do remains to be seen.

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