Telangana’s Sircilla Assembly segment, which has 92 villages, is likely to become the first constituency in the country to have toilets in every household by October 2.
Local residents have now put up warnings in villages that anyone caught defecating in the open would be fined Rs 100 to
Rs 500. Represented by K T Rama Rao, state minister for Panchayati Raj and IT and son of CM K Chandrashekar Rao, Sircilla earlier had very few households with toilets and most villagers defecated in the open.
In the past couple of years, many households built their individual toilets, but at least 12,505 households across the mandals of Sircilla, Mustabad, Gambiraopet and Yellareddypet remained without toilets.
“A majority of these households did not have enough funds to build their own toilets. The remaining preferred open defecation. However, during gram sabhas and village meetings, we told villagers about the disadvantages of open defecation, especially its effects on health. We were able to convince many villagers to opt for individual toilets. Then the state government built the toilets for them,” said an official.
After a survey, it was found that the 12,505 households that did not have toilets also needed government assistance to build them.
“While the minister who represents this constituency wanted to ensure every household has a toilet, the villagers too felt that it was time to join the campaign against open defecation. As on September 1, 12,505 households did not have toilets and a programme was launched to build toilets for them by Gandhi Jayanti,” the official said.
He added: “It took dozens of village meetings to convince the villagers. Gram dhoots were appointed to meet every family and convince them to opt for a toilet at home. Ultimately, every household agreed and the construction of toilets began.”
Material like toilet kits, an estimated 50,000 cement bags, doors, fibre plastic roofs were procured from various companies which sold them at low prices as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
“The challenge was to restrict the cost of constructing these toilets at Rs 12,000 per unit. This amount was borne by the state government,” said the official.
Officials said that by September 28, 8878 of the 12,505 toilets had been built and 52 villages have become free of open defecation. They said construction of the remaining 3,627 toilets would be finished by October 2.