Express News Service
COIMBATORE: Paraipathi, a tribal hamlet in Anaimalai Taluk, has been declared an Open Air Defecation Free (ODF) village, but more than 40 families are still waiting for a public toilet complex built in 2018 at a cost of Rs 4 lakh under Swachh scheme to open spices.
Residents said officials told them that toilets would not be used until a politician opened them. Since no chief had inaugurated it yet, they entered the forest to relieve themselves.
K Mani, a resident of the village, said that although they inquired about the toilet several times, officials told them to “wait.” Furthermore, the villagers said that toilet water is drawn from a 2,000-liter tank used to supply the village with drinking water. They expressed concerns that there would not be enough water for drinking once the latrines were opened.
He added that the building and pipes were damaged due to lack of maintenance. “Water lines and sewage pipes are exposed to the harsh sunlight and have become fragile.”
Silvraj, 35, a father of two, said he dreads whenever the children enter the forest after dusk. “During the late hours, if someone goes to defecate, the whole family has to be awake until the person is back.” He added that there are about 60 children and women, most of whom refrain from going to the forest after sunset. He was concerned that this could affect their health.
“The government advertises a lot about clean India, but in reality it doesn’t care about us,” he said.
F admitted. Ramakrishnan, the chief executive of the Udiakulam town panchayat, under which the village is located, said that latrine water is being drawn from the drinking water tank, and that he had taken steps to arrange an alternative source. “We finalized a tender a few months ago for the repair of a separate well for toilets,” he said.
When asked about the villagers’ complaint about the compound remaining closed, he said, “I was only moved here at the end of last year and I am not aware of the closed toilets. The neglect of the former officers resulted in not using the toilet.”
Thakari Shubham Dnyandurao, Sub Collector, Pulashi said: “I am not sure what the problem is and whether there is a toilet complex and it is not allowed for public use. Action will be taken on this.”
GS Samrin, District Collector, Coimbatore, said that if construction was completed, the complex would have been opened for public use.
“Only if the cost of the project exceeds ‘1 crore, some opening jobs will be held,'” he added, when he indicated that people are waiting politically to open it. He added that if the complaint is correct, measures will be taken and toilets will be opened immediately.