Friday, 26 August 2016

Parents feel toilets dispensable --- Families in villages are unaware of adverse impact of open defecation

By Udumula Sudhakar Reddy

While in college student K. Rekha’s case the parents had no money and enough space to build a toilet as their asbestos sheet house itself is in a 60 square yard plot, but in several other cases lack of health and social consciousness leads to ignorance about such  facility.

For instance, in the case of illiterate Ravula Venkanna a farmer belonging to the Yadava community, who built a house spending `3 lakh, but did not want to construct a toilet though his two daughters a degree student and a class X girl have been asking for it.  In some cases toilets are built but used as a godown of sorts. Though poverty is one of the prime reasons there is another side to the coin too like that of Venkanna.
 R. Mounika, studying in the final year of Bachelor of Zoology in Sairam degree college said, “My father has toiled in the fields to build the house. Though as a student of Zoology I know there are health issues apart from the shame in going out in the open, I shall also consider his financial situation.”

Venkanna said the government gave him `70,000 and he had spent `2.5 lakh extra to construct
the house so he cannot spend `20,000 more to construct the toilet. A ward member of the locality K. Bhaskar said Venkanna’s issue is definitely not poverty but ‘a cultural one’ where he does not want
to spend more money. While there are a few cases among upper  castes too having the issue of no toilet, the Dalits and backward class families face serious problems. In one case a Dalit couple got
their son married to a girl and built a house with the help of a government housing scheme for the BPL, but he did not build a toilet and is using a torn flex banner of a political party as a bathroom and they go out in the dark for answering nature’s call.

Pandula Komaraiah a resident of Pasilla who belongs to SC Madiga community said, “I have taken a loan to construct a house apart from what the government gave me under a housing scheme. I have a loan of `2 lakh to  repay. We have not been sanctioned a latrine under  any government scheme.” Siripuram Paramesh a resident of Pasilla who works as a driver said, “During the rainy season it is a big problem.” The entire Madiga colony in Palisala village has no toilets. Foxes, hyenas and snakes in the fields pose a threat when they go out to answer nature’s calls. Though there are no instances of molestations and rapes like in Uttar Pradesh, rainy season, health issues and snake bites are reported.

P. Ramakka a 70 year-old woman who belongs to Golla community said, “My son left me and migrated to Nizamabad. I live in this dilapidated house. I have no space to construct a toilet. We have encountered foxes and hyenas in the fields.”

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