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Bihar Villagers Destroy Toilets Ater Govt Fails to Transfer Promised Sum Under ODF Scheme

The villagers allege that the contractors easily got their money from the state government while the common man runs from pillar to post to get back his hard-earned money from the government coffers.

Prafull Kumar, Alok Kumar

Updated:August 6, 2017, 1:19 PM IST
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Champaran (Bihar): Many villagers of Rekhasundar in Bihar's west Champaran district on Saturday morning destroyed their toilets, which were constructed under the government-sponsored open defecation free (ODF) scheme, as a mark of protest against delay in transfer of the promised sum to their bank accounts.

Three months back authorities declared Pakadiya Panchayat as 'open defecation free' but forgot to transfer Rs 12,000 each into the accounts of the concerned people who were persuaded by the block officials to built their own toilets.

After desperately waiting for the money for nine months, the villagers finally decided to destroy their toilets en masse. It was an unusual scene on Saturday morning when villagers helped each other in destroying their toilets. Within half an hour seven of the toilets were reduced to rubble.


TOILET-1-875
(Image courtesy: Alok Kumar/Prafull Kumar)


The villagers allege that the contractors easily got their money from the state government while the common man runs from pillar to post to get back his hard-earned money from the government coffers.

"Some of us took loans. My neighbourer 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."

TOILET-2-100%
(Image courtesy: Alok Kumar/Prafull Kumar)

In 2016, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had started his ambitious Lohia Swachhata Mission from Pakadiya Panchayat under Nautan Block in Bihar's Champaran district and promised to provide piped waters supply and toilet to every household under Saat Nischay (seven point agenda) scheme.

Under the government scheme, authorities have adopted a two-pronged strategy to ensure that there is a toilet for every household in the state. While in the first place government-hired contractors help villagers built their toilets and in the second people spend their own money to build toilets in the hope of their money to be refunded by the government.


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