Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Badaun gangrape: Why the Badaun girls didn’t have a toilet they could call their own

A sanitation survey being carried out in Badaun district. (Source: Express photo by Praveen Khanna) A sanitation survey being carried out in Badaun district. (Source: Express photo by Praveen Khanna)
Written by Pritha Chatterjee | Katra Sadatganj (badaun) | Posted: June 3, 2014 1:05 am | Updated: June 3, 2014 8:28 am

Katra Sadatganj village where two cousins went out to relieve themselves at night and were found raped and hanging from a tree 10 hours later has 3,500 families. Of them, 173 have toilets. Of these, 73 exist only on paper.

There are at least three schemes funded jointly by the central and state governments for sanitation. In 2010, the Badaun district under which the village falls won the best performance award under one such scheme, the Sampurna Swachata Abhiyan of the Union government for building toilets.

According to figures available with the chief development officer (CDO) of Badaun district, the last 10 toilets were constructed in Katra Sadatganj under the Indira Awaas Yojana in 2010. It was in 2002 that the last survey was conducted to identify BPL families eligible for it. Under the scheme, families got Rs 36,000 to build a house and toilet. While the amount has since been hiked to Rs 75,000, the villagers in Katra Sadatganj were covered by the previous allocation.

Justifying the sanitation award won by Badaun, CDO Uday Raj Singh, also the acting DM of the district, says: “In the survey, we drew up a wait list of BPL families, and every financial year we have released money to people on this wait list. In Katra Sadatganj village, the last of the 173 identified families was covered in 2011.”

The families of the two cousins who were found dead own 10 bighas of land together and were not identified as BPL beneficiaries, though they say they have applied several times for BPL cards. “There is obviously a need to conduct fresh surveys,” a senior official says. “A survey had started during the Mayawati government, we completed the findings where a thousand odd new BPL families were found. But the survey was stopped after the new government took over.”

The father of the 14-year-old deceased girl says his family had been identified for a state medical relief scheme for BPL families. “How is it that we were identified as poor in one government survey but omitted in another?” he asks.

Those who were found eligible for monetary benefits in the 2002 survey say the construction of a single-room house and toilet began only in 2007. Village pradhan Kamal Kant Sharma points out that of the finished toilets, at least 50 were just holes dug into the ground and covered with a tin sheet. “In less than a year, the holes filled up and there was nobody to help villagers clean them. At least 50 of these toilets are non-functional,” Sharma says.

Many beneficiaries did not even build the toilets, saying the money allocated was not enough. Ram Bhajan, one such beneficiary and a neighbour of the deceased girls, says he had to choose between constructing a house or a continued…

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