Villagers no longer use toilets

- PRATAP BISTA, MAKWANPUR

May 24, 2014-

Many households in Bharta VDC in the district have started using their toilets to store hay, fodder and firewood merely 10 months after the village was declared an open defecation free zone.

The declaration was made after installing toilet pans in each house with pledge from the concerned families that they would carry out the remaining work to give a full shape to their toilets within a month. Despite such promise from the villagers, many families in the VDC did not complete the remaining work on their toilets and those which are ready have remained unused.

“We are habituated to defecating in the open but constructed the toilets under pressure,” said Rupal Chepang of Saiwang, Bharta-1. He had constructed a toilet for his 11-member family nine months ago using materials provided by the VDC but the family use the nearest stream to answer the nature’s call.

Similarly, Pritiram Chepang of Bharta-4, who owns three houses and is also a civil society leader, does not have a toilet. Though he installed a toilet pan earlier, it has already been buried. His 12-member family, too, uses the nearby rivulet to answer the nature’s call.

Though locals can be found defecating in the open near the rivulet, many people living downstream have been using drinking water collected from the same rivulet.

Local people in Bharta-6 said there are only two toilets in the whole ward and these too are reserved for guests. “We just cannot get ourselves to defecate in the toilet,” said local Ram Singh.

Considering the financial constraints of the villagers, the District Development Committee (DDC) and VDC had brought essential construction materials like toilet pans, pipes and cement from Hetauda and distributed them to 708 households in the VDC. However, the campaign has completely failed.

According to Tanka Moktan, a staffer at the VDC, some people have constructed toilets but failed to put it to use while the rest sold the materials they received at cheaper rates to others. Around 70 percent households in the VDC, a majority of whom belong to the Chepang community, do not have toilets.

According to a local schoolteacher, the campaign failed to achieve its goal due to the lack of awareness among local residents and that the move would have been a success had authorities concerned focused on raising awareness about potential health hazards caused by open defecation instead of making the declaration in haste.

 

Published: 25-05-2014 09:30

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