by Adithya Kumar
Sanitation remains a problem in the villages in Wardha district. Dorli and Lonsawali, which are 15 km from Wardha, have open gutters with stagnant water and garbage lies piled up in corners.
Alka Gayatri, a resident of Dorli village points to the toilet currently being built in her house. Hers is not the only house that has been covered under the Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan under which toilets are being built in villages across the country to deter open defecation.
In fact, 85 per cent of the houses already have toilets and the ones that do not have toilets are getting them built. Each house that builds a toilet is given a remuneration of Rs.12000.
“Even though people have toilets, a lot of them prefer to go out and do their business as it has become a habit,” says Dharampal Jharaunde.
Having toilets does not solve their problem because there is no closed drainage system. Also not all the houses in Dorli have access to the gutter that runs around the village which are filled with rubbish. The residents have dug their own primitive drains outside their houses.
In Lonsavli too people have dug their own drains outside their houses and the water that collects here during the monsoon is a source of various diseases. Now though plans have been approved for a drain to be built in the village.
“Last year, there were cases of chikungunya, this year there are none thankfully,” says Nisha Brahmine, a resident of Lonsavli.
On being asked why they never brought these issues up at the Gramsabha meetings, she said that there was no united voice in the place. No such issues were brought up in the Gramsabha. The Gram Panchayat according to the residents of both these villages is not very helpful with holding meetings erratically
The gutters are cleaned only twice a year by the Gram Panchayat that covers both these villages, that too before the monsoons and after them.
The coal belt villages of Baranj and Tilwasa in neighbouring Chandrapur lack a drainage system. In Baranj houses which do not have proper drainage have built their own primitive sewage pits. These pits are cleaned once a week when full. The pits are uncovered and have become a prime breeding spot for mosquitos and so they form a health hazard too. During the rains these gutters start overflowing and most of the water flows back into the houses.
According to Pallavi Gourde from Baranj, the villagers are unaware of a lot of things and this is the reason for the poor state of the drainage system.
“If the panchayat was allotted Rs 1 lakh for some project, they would tell us that only Rs 50000 was given,” she said. The village is not aware of a lot of these programs that are meant to help them.
In Baranj and Tilwasa though only 50 per cent of the houses have toilets and most of the residents openly defecate in the fields around the place. The villagers are not even aware of the program and due to the lack of money they cannot build toilets for themselves.
Maya Makhulkar, the Sarpanch of Baranj on the other hand says that she has written letters but there has been no response to them.
Vijay Yeole, Village Officer in Waifad who covers all these villages says that a deadline of January 15 has been given to build toilets in these villages. According to him, a cheque would be given to each of these families after they built the toilets. Officials would check these toilets prior to providing the remuneration.
Yeole said that it was expensive to build gutters and so there were no plans to build new ones. He also said that there was no proper cooperation from the people and so things remain as they were.