New Delhi: On Raksha Bandhan this year, close to 200 brothers in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh gifted toilets to their sisters under the programme “Anokhi Amethi Ka Anokha Bhai” (Unique Amethi’s Extraordinary Brother), initiated by Zila Swachhata Samiti. The toilets which have ‘Rakhi Toilets’ inscribed along with the name of both the brother and sister, sets a healthy precedent of acknowledging the problems faced by women with no access to toilets. From health problems to security, privacy and dignity, for women a toilet signifies more than just an end of an age old practice of open defecation. A total of 854 people from different blocks of the Amethi district came forward and registered themselves as “brothers” with the district committee to gift a toilet to their sisters on Raksha Bandhan. The registered brothers had to build the toilet with their own financial resources.
It started as a campaign to educate and involve more and more people in the Swachh Bharat Mission initiative, while sustaining their connection with cleanliness and hygiene,” said Amethi’s Chief Development Officer (CDO) Apoorva Dubey.
Of the total 834 registrations, 189 toilets were confirmed as completed by Raksha Bandhan on August 7. However, as per district officials, the number of toilets constructed under the initiative could go up in the next few days, the tabulation process is still going on across various villages in the district. “The remaining toilets are under construction and would be completed soon,” Ms Dubey added.
“After physical verification of the toilets by a team of officials on August 11, three prizes of Rs. 50,000, Rs. 15,000 and a mobile and Rs. 12,000 would be given through a lucky draw at a district-level programme. During the event on August 11, the Zila Swachhata Samiti will also decide to give a consolation prize to one such case, where a brother has displayed exemplary efforts to gift a toilet,” the Chief Development Officer further added.
Amethi is not the only district to have tried to capitalise on the festival to drive home the Swachh message and get people involved. Many local authorities across India have tried to use the occasion of Raksha Bandhan and its emotional appeal as a festival that celebrates the brother-sister bond, to involve people and to push the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s goal of building toilets to end open defecation.