Taking a cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign, the small and nondescript Jaraila village of Rupbas Panchayat Samiti in Bharatpur district today boasts of having as many as 102 sanitary toilets, built recently to stop the practice of open defecation. Healthy sanitation practices are being promoted in the village and cleaning of roads and lanes is undertaken on a daily basis.
The initiative has been taken by Lupin Human Welfare and Research Foundation, which has spent about Rs. 20 lakhs on the toilet construction project with the assistance of the Habitat for Humanity of India (HFHI). Lupin Foundation, which has taken up a lot of philanthropic works in Bharatpur district in the past, is trying to ensure that the toilets are put to 100 per cent use.
Jaraila used to be like any other village in the region where the people went to the open grounds, fields and forest area for defacation. Only three houses in the village had toilets which were used only for guests. When the guests left, the toilets were locked. It was a similar case with the toilets built in the village school, which were used only by the school staff and were locked for students.
Though the State Government has made a provision for subsidy for construction of toilets, no villager availed of it, as a toilet could not be built in the little amount and there was a lot of paper work involved in availing of the subsidy.
The Foundation decided recently that it would make the remote Jaraila village open defecation-free by involving the villagers in the project. The Foundation representatives held a meeting with the villagers and explained to them the benefits of sanitary toilets. It told the villagers that it would constructed high quality two-pit toilets in all the 102 households and would expect a contribution of Rs.2,000 each from them for the work.
A decision was also taken to construct a cement tank of 1,000 litre capacity near each toilet to facilitate their use. The villagers assured the Lupin Foundation representatives that besides using toilets, they would also clean their houses, nearby areas and the roads and lanes every morning.
Villagers like Mohan Singh, Radheyshyam and Badan Singh are a happy lot today, feeling proud in telling the residents of nearby villages that they enjoy the toilet facility in their houses created by their own initiative. Evidently, the use of toilets will prevent the spread of diseases, raise health level of villagers and help them concentrate on income-generating activities.
Visitors to Jaraila theses days are impressed by the high level of sanitation on the roads, lanes and bylanes of the village. The awareness about cleanliness has also led to 100 per cent immunization of children as well as institutional deliveries of women. With the improvement in health standards, villagers are able to take up productive works in their day-to-day lives.
Disabled youth Jagdish had to travel to the nearby forest area on his tricycle everyday before sunrise for defacation. He faced a great difficulty in finding a suitable place, getting down from the tricycle and perform the routine chore. His problems increased in adverse weather conditions. The construction of toilet in his home has provided him a great relief from the torture he used to face on a daily basis.
Dozens of girl students of Jaraila, such as Aarti, Kalpana, Vijaylaxmi and Bobby, studying in the college, had to wait for darkness in the night or leave their home early in the morning, before the break of dawn, to go to isolated places on the outskirts of the village for defacation. Often, they had to face embarrassment as their college starts in morning. They are a happy lot today after the construction of toilets in their home.