Residents are forced to defecate in open
Most villages in Maski taluk in Raichur district do not have proper public toilets. People defecate in the open because the few toilets built are incomplete and without water supply.
In villages like Digganayakanabhavi, Antargange, Muraladinni Tanda and Banaklal, people have to fetch water to be used in toilets. A few public toilets have the structures, but no doors or facilities inside. Because of this, people are forced to defecate in the open.
“I have lived in this village since my birth. I saw a few public toilets being constructed a few years ago. But if you take a look at their condition now, you will not find water supply inside. The walls are broken. We cannot use toilets like these,” Dinnama, a resident of the Antargange village, informed The Observer.
People who have toilets built in their homes use them. But some still defecate in the open, especially children. Pigs roam the village feeding on human waste.
The villagers complain that the toilets provided by the government for public use are not regularly cleaned; there is either very little or no water supply. They have to carry water from far-off places or their homes to use the public toilet
The problem is more difficult for women of the villages. They say because of the poor condition of the public toilets, they don’t use it. The sewerage of the toilets is not well built.
“We have toilets in our home, and we use them. There are public toilets in my village, but they are not properly maintained,” Ambaji, a resident of Digganayakanabhavi, said. A few toilets lack taps.
But Ambarish, a zilla panchayat member who looks after 52 villages, had a different take.
“After the implementation of the Swachh Bharat Mission, most homes in the villages have their own toilets. Therefore, the public toilets are not used. Moreover, there are people in the villages who have toilets built in their houses but use them as storerooms. They refuse to use them and still defecate in the open.”
Residents of the villages seemed unaware of the diseases that spread through open defecation. “People here are educationally backward and ignorant. They don’t understand the need for proper toilets,” said Suresh, a health inspector from Antargange village.
Environmentalist Akshay Heblikar, Director of Eco-Watch, an NGO, said: “Open defecation and defecating in unhygienic places can lead to serious diseases. It is not just about health but also about the environment. This waste can drain down to any nearby water body and pollute it. Villagers use water from the same water bodies for various purposes without knowing what they are using. Proper toilets are the need of the hour. Every village should have proper public toilet facilities.”
According to an advisory on public and community toilets by Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation, ministry of housing and urban affairs, “public and community toilets should provide clean, safe, accessible, convenient, and hygienic facilities to the public at a level of privacy adequate to perform necessary personal sanitary functions.”
The villagers said they would gladly use the public toilets they are in a good condition.