Modi Govt’s dream of ‘Toilets for Every House’ gaining momentum

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Image only for representation. (PTI Image)
On May 26, two girls from Katra Sadatganj village in the Badaun district of Uttar Pradesh went missing after they went out to relieve themselves. There was no toilet in their home. Throughout the night, the villagers searched for the girls and the following morning, they were found hanging from a tree.

The tragic incident could have been averted if they had had a toilet in their home.

This is just one story, there are many more such incidents which have occurred because of lack of toilets in our country.

As per a report, 54.28 per cent of Indian households do not have toilet facilities and 95 per cent of cases of rape and molestation, in villages such as Rasoolabad in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur district, were reported when the victims had gone out of their homes to relieve themselves.

Defecating in the open is not only a challenge for women, it also contributes to high malnutrition rates among Indian children.

‘Toilets for Every House' campaign

Open defecation leads to deaths of more than 750,000 children per year

On Sunday (August 31), a nation-wide campaign for building toilet for every house was launched from Katra Sadatganj village in uttar Pradesh, where two girls were allegedly gangraped and hanged in May.
Starting the campaign, Sulabh International, a voluntary organisation opened 'Sulabh (low-cost) toilets' for the public in the Badaun village, as a tribute to the two cousin sisters who were found hanging with tree after they went missing the previous night.

"Absence of toilet in a house is responsible for incidents of rapes and sexual assaults in villages," Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak said.

Non-availability of toilets in the village made the two sisters go out in the open at night to attend the call of nature, when they were allegedly raped and murdered and the bodies hanged from a tree.

Open defecation leads to malnutrition

According to the UN, countries where open defecation is most widely practiced have the highest number of deaths of children under the age of five, as well as high levels of under-nutrition.

The United Nation's Millennium Development Goals Report, 2012 said that nearly 1.1 billion people, or 15 per cent of the global population had no sanitation facilities at all.

Reacting to the UN's findings, a professor from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) had said, "Sanitation remains our worst concern. India is the least improved country when it comes to access to proper sanitation. In some places, modern toilets have been set up but they have no water. We have the largest population in the world that defecates in the open."

Few startling facts and figures related to sanitation:

As per UN report, nearly 2.5 billion people, which is roughly 37 per cent of the world's population, still lack access to adequate sanitation.

Open defecation is one of the main causes of diarrhoea, which results in the deaths of more than 750,000 children under age 5 every year.

Every 20 seconds a child dies as a result of poor sanitation.

80 per cent of diseases in developing countries are caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation, including inadequate sanitation facilities.

Access to sanitation, the practice of good hygiene, and a safe water supply could save 1.5 million children a year.

By launching this initiative, Sulabh has done a commendable job as it will not only help in making our surroundings neat and clean but will also help in safeguarding the dignity of the women. It is yet another small step towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise of making India free from open defecation and making it ‘Swacchh Bharat.' 

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