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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Jairam Ramesh says toilets more important in India than temples

Toilets are more important in India than temples, Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said here on Friday, as he inaugurated a yatra that will travel through states raising awareness about sanitation.
"Sixty-four per cent of Indians defecate in open spaces, which is a global record. It is now reckoned as the main cause of India's malnutrition problem. In the past five years, we have spent more than Rs 45,000 crore on rural sanitation and will spend Rs 1.08 lakh crore in the next five years to make India open-defecation-free country," Ramesh told a gathering of panchayat-level workers, children and officials.
The Nirmal Bharat Yatra will cover 2,000 km through Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar, before culminating at Bettiah in Champaran — where Mahatma Gandhi started his freedom struggle in India. The yatra will also try to tackle taboos around menstrual hygiene management.
WASH United, an international water, sanitation and hygiene advocacy organisation, and Quicksand Design Studio, an India-based innovation firm specialising in WASH (water and sanitation hygiene), have teamed up to put together the yatra. Cricketers and film stars are being roped in to get across the message, with Sachin Tendulkar and Vidya Balan as the brand ambassadors.
"We need to turn every village into Hivre Bajar and Ralegan Siddhi, the two Maharashtra villages that have set examples in rural sanitation," Ramesh said, adding that central funding for rural toilets will be raised from Rs 3,500 per family to Rs 10,000.
Thorsten Kiefer, Executive Director of WASH United, and Nirat Bhatnagar, Principal of Quicksand, said the yatra was about "reinventing toilet talk" and hoped to make "toilets and hygiene cool and sexy".

Friday, 5 April 2013

"Not A Single Public Toilet In Rural Delhi "

In this fast changing world, Investment in sanitation is given very low priority.“Instead of open defecation, Toilets are their Birth Right.” India is home to 638 million people defecating in the open. People have everything in their Home from TV set to Mobile Phones, but they don’t have Toilet Facilities!
Rural belt of Delhi which stretches from Bardarpur border south east Delhi to Narela in the northern part of Delhi. There is not a single toilet on this way. That is why rural population go to field and roadside areas to answer their natures call. The worst sufferers are women for whom not a single public toilets exits, it’s not only matter of dignity but also safety. But their voices are unheard by Government authorities. Sanitation has, however been seen as a matter of individual understanding and initiative rather than a collective responsibility of the community.
Safe water & sanitation facilities .There is urgent need from philanthropist and government and non-government agencies to must invest in safe drinking water and sanitation facilities .Denial of basic facilities such as drinking water or absence of toilet here like several other villages require minor girls to walk distance every day. Dalit women also succumb to atrocities by upper caste communities as most of times the source of drinking water is located in the upper caste field. Dalit communities are lacking in basic amenities such as safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. The most critical issue that has great impact on women’s life are drinking water and sanitations. Absence of sanitation facilities and safe drinking water puts Dalit women in a vulnerable situation they have to walk several miles to fetch water often results in incident of harassment. 
Absence of water and sanitation facilities makes women to become victims to sexual crimes. Approximately there are 3200 urinals in Delhi, but there are only 130 for women. Women have to travel long distance to relieve them.
To retain a bit of privacy & Dignity, a large part of rural India and urban poor women wake up pre dawn In search of quit place for nature’s call.
They defecate near the water bodies from where they get water for drinking, bathing other purpose. Which is very dangerous to their body? Many of them developed gastro intestinal and constipation problem. Toilets are Hygiene issue, sanitation issue, health issue, a privacy& dignity issue.
Out of the total 1483 square kilometre area of Delhi, over 500 square kilometres with a population of over 30 lakh and covering 360 villages is this deprived of such facilities.
Despite of spending huge sum of money on construction of Toilets Government is failed to provide Hygiene Toilets to the public .Nobody knows why there is not a single Public Toilets in Rural Belt of Delhi.
By : Gaurav Kashyap
          Hindu Newpaper