Bihar villagers destroy toilets after govt 'forgets' to transfer promised sum under ODF scheme

Tired of waiting for the amount promised under government sponsored Open Defecation Free scheme (ODF), many villagers of Rekhasundar in Bihar’s West Champaran district destroyed their toilets on Saturday morning.

Ironically Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, like other dream projects, started his Lohia Swachhata Mission from Pakadiya Panchayat under Nautan block of the district last year. He promised to provide piped waters supply and toilet to every household under Saat Nischay (seven point agenda) scheme from here.

Three months back, authorities declared Pakadiya panchayat as open defecation-free but forgot to transfer Rs 12 thousand each into the accounts of those who, after being persuaded from block officers, built toilets in their houses.

The toilets were destroyed in just thirty minutes. Image courtesy: Alok Kumar/Prafull Kumar

The toilets were destroyed in just thirty minutes. Image courtesy: Alok Kumar/Prafull Kumar

After waiting for nine months, they decided to destroy their toilets together. It was an unusual scene on Saturday morning when villagers helped each other in destroying their toilets. Within half an hour, seven of them were reduced to rubble.

Under the government scheme, authorities have adopted two pronged strategy to meet the target of ensuring toilet in every household. One way is to help the needy build toilets directly from contractors hired by authorities. The other way is to encourage villagers build it from their own resources and credit the fixed amount into their bank accounts at a later stage.

Villagers are saying that while contractors got their money from the government, those who opted to build toilets from their own resources are still waiting for the amount.

“Some of us took loans. My neighbour bought bricks and cement on credit. Now lenders and shopkeepers are pressing us to return their dues. When we go to block officer, we are sent back with promises. How long can we wait? At least we can sell the bricks after destroying it,” a villager Naval Pathak argues in favour of destroying toilets.

Another villager Rameshwar Mukhia alleged that Block officer Jyoti Kumari demanded bribe to release funds. “We were told to give Rs 1000 in return for crediting the amount under ODF scheme. We complained to higher authorities but no one listens.”

Updated Date: Aug 05, 2017 15:13 PM

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