These pictures taken recently show the way toilets are used in some villages of Siraha district, the first district of Province 2 to be declared as an open-defecation free district. Photo: Mithilesh Yadav/Republica
LAHAN, Oct 2: Nepal became first the open defecation free country in South Asia following Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s formal announcement on Monday. Many celebrated the status. However, some criticized it as a fake claim.
Even though people have become growingly aware about health and sanitation and toilets are common in towns and villages, some parts of the country are yet to see the change. PM Oli on Monday claimed that all 753 local units of 77 districts have become open defecation free zone.
But a recent random visit to some villages in Tarai contradicts the PM’s claim. Even if people have toilets in their house, some hardly use it for its true purpose. Some have build toilets due to avoid for them as not having it deprives them of several benefits.
“I never use this toilet, that’s more a part of kitchen for me,” said Bechana Sadaya of Padariya village of Lahan Municipality – 11, while pointing his figure to a concrete structure that looks like a toilet. “I have never relieved myself there,” he laughed.
His municipality was the first municipality in the district to have the status of open defecation free zone. The declaration was made on the basis of ‘one toilet in every house’.
But just like Sadaya, some villagers say that they prefer defecating in the open rather than in toilet. “The toilet is very congested here,” Sadaya complains. “The toilet is very close to where I sleep and where I eat. Officials who helped built this toilet, built it here against our wishes,” he added.
He also does not like the location where the toilet pan has been placed. “There is no way that anyone will defecate near their kitchen. Instead of using their common sense, they established the toilet pan right near my kitchen. How can I use it for defecating in such a case?” he asked.
His neighbor Devo Sadaya has no different version. Some officials approached him and said that open defecation spreads disease so his family should use toilet. He thought, “fine, we will use if you are going to help build it’.
“They build the toilet, but it’s of no use for us,” he remarks.”They came here and invested thousands of rupees to build this toilet,” he said showing the unused toilet.
Devo goes into open fields to relieve himself. His family members do the same, he said. He said that he would be grateful if the government would rather pay his loans. “I have some loans and I am worried about it. I wish they would have helped me pay it off instead of building this useless toilet for us,” he said.