It has been almost four years since the Swachh Bharat mission was launched by Prime Minister Modi. The mission was launched to ensure an open defecation-free country by October 2, 2019. However, in the village, Anuppur district, Madhya Pradesh, families belonging to a “backward tribe” have accused the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) website and officials of falsely taking the credit for toilets built in the village. While the officials say that they were never in beneficiary lists of the govt and that is why they were not given money and any toilet that is being built in the past two years is part of the Swachh Bharat Mission.
The residents have claimed that no government officials built toilets in their villages. Whereas, the resident made the toilets after the Panchayat threatened them. According to the villagers, the panchayat had come up with an order where it said that the families without the toilet would not be getting the ration, and those who will make the toilets on their own will get money from ‘Swachh Bharat’ scheme.
The Logical Indian spoke to one of the district officials who says that the villagers painted the toilets on themselves and they were not eligible for any funds from the government for the toilets.
The growing fear of the not getting the ration from the government forced four tribal families to build toilets in their area. The villagers claim that they spent some 1500 rupees each to construct basic toilets (bricks baked by the villagers, and also the labor work is done by them) and once the toilets were made, the government officials painted the gate blue and put a ‘Swachh Bharat’ logo on it. The residents also assert that the officials scribbled the name of the beneficiary and took pictures of it.
As per the Swachh Bharat scheme, there is a provision to provide Rs 12,000 to the eligible beneficiary to build toilets. When the villagers went to the officials to avail the money, they were turned down and were told that their names and pictures were already on the ‘Swachh Bharat’ beneficiary list, which is why they will not get any monetary benefits now.
The pictures show the toilets without any roof and with no water facilities which raises more questions on the “Swacch Bharat mission” of the BJP government. Even if the M.P officials made the bathrooms that they claim to have done, these are not the kind of toilets that Swachh Bharat Mission is supposed to make.
More than 40 KM away from Anuppur town, Kurari village has very little access to water, electricity and even the government schemes. The appalling fact is that the four families who have allegedly build toilets using their own money are the only families in the village to have a bathroom.
The Swachh Bharat Mission
The mission was launched by the NDA government in October 2014. The objectives of Swachh Bharat include eliminating open defecation through the construction of household-owned and community-owned toilets and establishing an accountable mechanism of monitoring toilet use. Run by the Government of India, the mission aims to achieve an Open-Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2 October 2019.
The Logical Indian Take
Construction of toilets is perhaps easier than changing the habits of people who are accustomed to a life without toilets. However, if the claim of the villagers is true, then it is a grave problem, as these villagers barely have enough money for their primary needs. If the claim of the villagers turns out to be false, then the question arises who is to be held responsible for these poorly constructed toilets, or is this the quality of toilets approved under the SBM.
We urge the MP officials and the SBM monitoring authorities to take a look in this matter. It is highly unfair that on one hand, we hail digital and modern India, while these poor tribal villagers are deprived of the basic amenities.