In October of 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’. This was the slogan, which launched a campaign for the construction of toilets across the country. This scheme aimed to make villages Open Defecation Free (ODF) by building public toilets. However, a village in the Garhwa district of Jharkhand was recently found to have been declared ODF despite its people still being forced to defecate outdoors.
The incident is from the Chit Vishram village of Shri Bansidhar Nagar in the Garhwa district. According to sources, the contractor to whom the building of the toilet was assigned, constructed the toilets in a hurry and submitted the report, without bothering to check if they were fit for use. The local administration accepted the report without checking it, and the village was declared Open Defecation Free. However, an investigation by News18 found that the reality was quite different from what the papers show.
People in this village, whether men or women, are forced to defecate in the open because the toilets built with government funding are not fit for use. While the district administration has declared the Chit Vishram village as ODF, its residents, especially women, curse at and complain against the administration.
When News18 journalists inquired about the reports on five public toilets having been built in the village, it was found that those have not been used since their inception.
When Alok Kumar, SDM of Shri Bansidhar Nagar was contacted regarding this matter, he said that he has also received some information in this matter. The matter will be investigated soon along with appropriate action, he said.