Officials who had falsely reported 155 villages in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh as open defecation-free (ODF) under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan are due to face action, Hindustan Times reports.
Teams of 250 members had been formed by ADM Niaz Khan to verify the claims that these villages are now open defecation-free. They found out that the claims that have been made were false, around 2000 villagers were caught defecating in the open. The inspection was carried out between 5 am to 7:30 am.
In some places, the villagers were not even using the toilets that were made; in other areas, toilets have not been built.
After receiving various complaints that many villages have been wrongly given the tag of ODF, Khan had arranged for the probe. The officials had been appointed to reside in the villages for ten days to find out if the villages were ODF.
The ADM has pointed out that cases will be lodged against the sarpanch, secretary and the employment assistant in each village. The committee responsible for quality check in these villages will also be booked. “I have informed the state government and asked the respective janpad CEOs to file FIRs,” he reportedly said.
Orders have also been issued to terminate the services of five block coordinators of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in Guna, Aaron, Chachauda, Raghogarh and Bamauri blocks.
Show cause notices have been issued to the CEOs of five block panchayats. Further, action to terminate the services of 45 panchayat secretaries and rozgar sahayaks is in progress.
In addition to this, a 10-man team has been set up in each village from district and block panchayat to conduct door-to-door surveys to find out whether those defecating in the open are doing it voluntarily or due to the fact that toilets have not been built under the Swachh Bharat mission.
The team will ensure that the already constructed toilets are in a usable condition and also sensitise the villagers towards using toilets and not defecating in the open.
However, the Kundol village Sarpanch feels that they are bearing the brunt for no fault of their own. He said, “When the certificate was given people were using the toilets, but now they are not using them. What can we do?”
Not a one-off incident
Last month on 2 October, after President Ram Nath Kovind declared urban Maharashtra open defecation free (ODF) at an event in Worli, Hindustan Times photographers found evidence proving just the opposite at Mankhurd, Shanti Nagar in Wadala, the Mahim railway track, Antop Hill, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mahim Causeway, and Somaiya Ground in Sion.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had earlier pointed out that lands under its jurisdiction are open defecation-free. They claimed it happened on land owned by Railways and central government.
Back in February 2017, the Video Volunteers had reported on how Bansajhal village in Chhatisgarh was claimed to be open-defecation free, but a walk around the village was enough to prove that it was not a truthful claim by the village Sarpanch.
The Logical Indian hopes that proper investigation is carried out and that the truth comes out in the daylight. It is essential that the ground realities are taken into consideration and then adequate steps are taken to better the situation. Falsifying records and wrong statistics would never aid in making the country open defecation-free.