New Delhi, March 25, 2014: A total of 3.7 crore or 22.39 per cent of toilets claimed to have been built by the government at the household level do not exist or are ‘missing’, said Right to Sanitation, an umbrella of over 100 civil society organisations, quoting Census 2011 figures.
At a two-day all-India convention here on Tuesday, the organisation called upon political parties to take up the issue of water and sanitation as a basic right, and ensure allocation of at least 1 per cent in the national budget for universal sanitation and hygiene.
According to the World Bank, India loses $53.8 billion each year due to lack of water and sanitation, which hit the vulnerable sections, such as tribals, dalits and minorities the most, particularly women, girls and the disabled.
“In Kalandar Colony of Seelampur in Delhi, there are only 40 toilets that cater to a population of 30,000-40,000. Since there is acute water shortage, the worst sufferers are girls and women during menstruation,” said Ramzana, who lives there. She said since safety was a big issue, many families had kept tin drums within their homes for girls or women to use at night.
Suman, a dalit from Varanasi, alleged that the better off in her village had been intimidating women from her community. “Since the government gives a dole to ASHA workers to ensure child delivery in the primary health centre, our women are being told to bring such cases, otherwise they would not be allowed to use the fields for defecation.”
In India, there are 794,390 latrines from which faeces are removed by humans, and 80,000 families still work as manual scavengers.
“There is lack of political will to solve these problems,” said Nafisa Barot from Gujarat, blaming corruption for the 23 lakh ‘missing’ toilets in her State. “These are the State government’s own figures. Ours are much higher,” says Bharot. (Source: The Hindu Business Line)