Constructing toilets a challenge in Kolar

Public in Kolar district uncooperative, Sampoorna Swachchata Andolan reaches only midway

Constructing toilets a challenge in Kolar

opposite directions: The doors of the public toilet in Kurubarapet, Kolar are shut

This itself, however, seems a monumental achievement. Of the 156 Grama Panchayats in the district, only two have seen a completion of the Andolan.

Authorities have declared that completion of the Andolan will require another 10 years. But the Government aims to provide every house with a toilet by 2011-12! It has been reported to the Government that no village has a system of carrying night soil.

During the Sarvakutumba survey conducted in 2004-05, 88,765 APL and 54,832 BPL houses, totalling to 1,43,597 houses, did not have toilets. On October 2, 2005-06, the Andolan was brought into force in the district. By June last, 30,695 APL and 32,289 BPL- a total of 62,984- houses were provided with toilets.  

In villages with considerable increase in population, public toilets are being constructed spending Rs two lakh. Proposals have been sent to construct three toilets in Bangarpet and one in the Narasapur bus stop in Kolar taluk.

A local company needs to spend Rs 40,000 and manage the work as well as supply enough water to maintain the toilets.

Disinterested

Authorities are finding it difficult to change the mindset of the local people who prefer using open areas as toilets. Controlling and preventing corruption is equally difficult, say the authorities.

They are facing bravely the challenge of bringing in interest and concern among the people towards having a personal toilet instead of open areas.

But the lack of any interest among the members of the Panchayats in implementing the Andolan effectively is a greater challenge, the authorities say.

A BPL family was given Rs 500 in 2005-06 to build a toilet. The amount was increased to Rs 1200 the next year, to Rs 2200 since April 12008, Rs 2,500 since May 1 2009 and Rs 3,000 since August 2.

Programmes are being conducted in villages to spread awareness about sanitation. Despite this, villagers are disinterested about construction or usage of toilets. They receive the money to construct the toilets, but still use open areas as a habit, say authorities with a sense of helplessness.

The benefit of the Andolan is not reaching the poor. People in districts with high levels of illiteracy are totally in the dark about the Andolan. “It is a common sight to find people receiving money saying a new toilet needs to be built, MLAs rushing to the villages and taking the authorities to task. The district is obviously still underdeveloped,” say the authorities.

The Centre introduced the Rs five lakh Nirmal Gram Puraskar award to promote the Andolan. Only Karahalli and Chinnakote Grama Panchayat in Bangarpet taluk won the 2008-09 award.

After this, 50 Panchayats were selected and Rs one crore was released. A total of 30 Panchayats, including eight in Kolar taluk, five in Malur taluk, eight in Mulbagal taluk and nine in Bangarpet taluk, have come forward to reach the goal. The other Panchayats have not shown any interest, the authorities say.

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