Srinagar, March 20: It is because of people like Nisha Rani, a class ten student from Jammu and Kashmir, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi can claim that his pet project, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), has made an impact. Nisha from Kud, Udhampur sat on a hunger strike recently because her house did not have a toilet. The teenager told ANI that she went on a fast demanding a toilet in her residence. The feisty teenager agreed to end her hunger strike after local administration started building a toilet in her house.
"#JammuAndKashmir: A student of class 10th launched a hunger strike, demanding a toilet in her house in Kud, Udhampur. She called off the strike after local administration begun the construction of a toilet at her residence," tweeted ANI.
#JammuAndKashmir: A student of class 10th launched a hunger strike, demanding a toilet in her house in Kud, Udhampur. She called off the strike after local administration begun the construction of a toilet at her residence. (19.3.18) pic.twitter.com/eWYU4aWqiL— ANI (@ANI) March 19, 2018
Asked what inspired her to take such an extreme step (hunger strike) to get a toilet for herself and her family members, Nisha said that she understood the true importance of sanitation after attending an awareness programme at her school. Before sitting on a hunger strike, Nisha informed her parents about her decision.
"After an awareness programme, which was held in our school, I got to know the importance of sanitation. I went to home that day and told my parents that I won't eat food till the time a toilet is made in our house," Nisha was quoted as saying by ANI.
After an awareness program,which was held in our school,I got to know the importance of sanitation.I went to home that day & told my parents that i won't eat food,till the time a toilet is made in our house: Nisha Rani,who launched a hunger strike, demanding a toilet in her house pic.twitter.com/b8parqBHgM— ANI (@ANI) March 19, 2018
Poor families like that of Nisha, living hand-to-mouth, across the country can't afford to build toilets in their homes. Thus they either use public toilets or open fields for defecation. According to reports, homes with toilets in India more than doubled from 38.7 per cent at the start of the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2, 2014, to 78.98 per cent in March 2018. As a part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, India aims to become open defecation free (ODF) by October 2, 2019.
In order to ensure that each household in India has a toilet of its own, the government is building toilets across the country. In some places, funds are given to families to build toilets in their homes. However, many reports indicate that funds meant for toilet building have been misused. There are also several places in India, mostly rural areas, where there are toilets but people don't use them.