Lucknow, April 24: If you are thinking that the government agencies are at the forefront to make India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, then read the story of a man from Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh.
Jabbar Shah, a farmer, decided to take the matter into his hands after the government did not help him to build a toilet in his house. As Shah saw women of his family are being forced to defecate in the nearby jungle, he decided to sell seven of his goats to build a toilet. Shah told ANI that he managed to collect at least Rs 15,000 by selling the animals. He used the entire amount to build a toilet in his house.
"Sitapur: Man sold 7 goats to build a toilet at his residence, says 'women of the house were forced to defecate in the jungle. This was problematic for them and so I sold 7 goats worth Rs. 15,000 to build a toilet. There has been no help from the govt'," tweeted ANI.
Sitapur: Man sold 7 goats to build a toilet at his residence, says 'women of the house were forced to defecate in the jungle. This was problematic for them and so I sold 7 goats worth Rs. 15,000 to build a toilet. There has been no help from the govt.' pic.twitter.com/K5k9EJPldU— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 21, 2018
For us (the well-heeled), Shah's decision to sell his goats to end the daily agony and shame of women in his household is not a big deal. But actually, it was, as Shah was running his household primarily by selling milk from the goats.
Finally, Shah's "sacrifice" was noticed by the district administration. "Building a toilet by selling goats for the safety of female members of his family. This is a matter of immense pride for us. The man will be reimbursed money spent on construction of toilet" Tulsi Ram, DPRO Sitapur, told ANI.
Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project--Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission)--India is aiming to make the country open defecation free (OPD) by October 2019. In November last year, a report stated that 732 million Indians have no access to toilets or clean toilets and are thus forced to defecate in the open.
The report added that despite immense progress through the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, more than 732 million people still suffer fear and indignity of relieving themselves in the open or in unsafe or unhygienic toilets--a situation that is worse for women and girls.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched by PM Modi in 2014. The nine states and two union territories that have been declared as ODF are Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Meghalaya.