Santhals in Jhapa sans basic sanitation facility

Jhapa, August 26:

Though 35 households of the marginalised Santhal community live in Tulachaun of Korobari VDC-1 in Jhapa district, only one family has toilet.

Except the family of Hopna Mardi, no other family in the settlement has toilet. “We have no money to construct toilets,” said Sutrung Beshra, a member of the community. “Since we have been facing hardship to eke out a living, building toilets is nearly impossible for us.”

Beshra has three members in his family. All of them go to open fields and rivers to answer the nature’s call. They said Mardi managed to construct the toilet as he went abroad for work.

“More than 4,000 of Santhals live in the VDC.But very few of them use toilets,” said Bhola Khatiwada, a local teacher. “Several NGOs launch programmes in the name of poor and needy people. But they have not done anything for Santhal settlement,” he said.

Most of the Santhals are living in public land. “How can we build toilets on our own when we are facing difficulties to eke out a living?”asked a local woman.

She also said that younger members of a family should not use the same place as toilet used by the elders, according to the Santhal tradition.