Poor locals under pressure to build latrines

Rajbiraj, January 12

Residents of Saptari have accused open defecation free zone campaigners of terrorising them in the district, of late.

Earlier, a campaign was launched to build toilet for each household with the target of declaring the district an open defecation free zone by the end of 2017. Subsequently, various organisations working in the field of sanitation and health expedited construction of toilets in the district. The campaign however put local poor people under unnecessary pressure to construct toilets at their houses at a time when they were struggling for two meals a day, complained Ramesh Kumar Yadav of Bishnupur Rural Municipality -1.

According to Yadav, the campaigners threatened the locals with police detention in case they defecated in the open, and they pressured them to construct their latrines even by taking loan and demolished their hearth at a time they were preparing to combat cold wave in winter.

Some youths aligned with Saptari Youth Nepal garlanded a local with 10-kg wreath and smeared vermilion power on him in mockery, accusing him of defecating in the open and forced him to go round the marketplace a few days ago.  The campaigners also take pictures of such people and publish them on social media.

Rajbiraj Municipality Mayor Shambhu Yadav said it was unreasonable to seek toilets in every house in a village when there were not enough toilets in the city. “Adequate number of toilets should be constructed at public places before taking any such measure,” said Yadav.

Meanwhile, a social activist Mahinarayan Yadav from Rajbiraj said, “Instead of misbehaving with the poor people, the campaigners should have spoken to them politely and made them understand the plan.

A total of Rs 80 million has been spent on toilet construction in Saptari after the campaign was launched in the district. A total of 10,415 households are yet to construct their toilet while 109,267 families have already built theirs.