Environment Health

 Despite India being declared as open defecation free, villagers of Sandur Taluk still continue to defecate openly.

Astha Oriel

 Around 76 percent of the houses in Sandur Taluk don’t have toilets. As per reports by the Village development department for the state of Karnataka, only 8944 households out of 37578 surveyed houses have toilets in the village.

Innama Devi, a resident of Annakamahal Village of Sandur Taluk, usually defecates in the nearby fields.  as she does not have a toilet at home.

 “We are poor people; we don’t earn a lot of money. We can only build toilets if the government gives us the due,” She added.

 Rewati, another resident of Annakamahal village, informed that two years ago the Gram Panchayat conducted a survey under Swaach Bharat Mission and took the photocopies of their Aadhar cards. After that, they started constructing toilets, but the work is halted since last year.

Sandur Taluk has a total of 139 villages and 26 Gram Panchayats. Most of the houses did not have separate space to build toilets.

In Ranjithpur village, people usually depend on public toilets.

In Yeshwanthpura village, some of the houses were found to have money for the construction of toilets while some did not.

Haseena Bi, resident of the Yeshwanthnagar village told the Softcopy that she received the money for constructing Toilets, but many others in the village did not. She said, “I got the money two years back and constructed the toilet. But still there are many houses in our village which did not get the money. We also don’t have any public toilets in the village.”

Swaach Bharat Mission, is an initiative by the Department of drinking water and sanitation which aims at making India open defecation free by 2019. As per its rules, the toilets should have been constructed in the individual households by October 2, 2019.

Under the ‘Swaach Bharat Mission- Grameen’, a minimum incentive of Rs.12000 is given to the villagers (who are below poverty line), by the government for the construction of toilets.

Dada Saheb, Member of the Kallinge Gram Panchayat under which Annakamhal village comes, said, “We are not receiving funds for the past one year to construct toilets. Lack of funds is the main reason for halt in the process of construction of toilets. Once we get funds, we will resume the work.”

He also mentioned that there is no awareness campaigns regarding the Swaach Bharat Mission.

In October 2019, media reports showed many discrepancies in the construction of toilets. More than 15 percent of the households in Karnataka don’t have toilets.

Mr. Sandeep, who works with sustainable development goals, stated that the implementation of schemes is a governmental issue. The concerned department is responsible for their management. If they are failing, it’s because of mismanagement.