RUKUM, Feb 20: Rukum was declared an Open Defecation Free (ODF) zone on December 22, 2014, after the successful construction of toilets in 97 percent of the houses and dozens of public areas. However, the locals of three Dalit communities of Athbiskot Municipality are obliged to defecate in the open due to lack toilets.
Dalits here have not been able to construct toilets at their homes due to poverty. Around 300 households of this community do not have toilets. This often leads to various kinds of epidemics. The Dalit communities of ward 8, 9 and 10 do not have toilets. This has not just polluted the villages but also made it difficult to walk around due to the bad odor.
According to Kiran Pariyar, illiteracy, lack of awareness and poverty are the major reasons why there are no toilets in Damaibara, Kamibara and Sarkibara. Most of the locals here are not aware about the harmful effects of practicing open defecation. They have been managing their livelihood through labor and whatever they earn is spent on buying two square meals.
As most of the Dalits are illiterate, making a toilet at their homes is not a priority. Though these areas are included in the municipality, they lack various facilities and privileges.