New Delhi: “I had learned to hold my bladder for long-long hours, as, since childhood, I was taught one basic thumb rule – I can only go and defecate in the open either early in the morning or late at night. But, now my fate has changed. Recently, my parents constructed a toilet at home. Now, I get to choose when I want to defecate, I can use the facility whenever I want to. It feels great and different, I never thought life becomes this easy after you get a toilet,” says an 18-year-old from Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district, that lately passed an order of ‘No Toilet, No Bride’.
The order say that none of the residents of the district will get their daughters married into any home which does not have a toilet. The decision was taken by the ‘sarvsamaj panchayat’ of Bijvada village of Baghpat which was also attended by panchayat chiefs of ten surrounding villages. Besides this, the policy also includes a norm that says if any family goes against the decision then they will be penalised and the money from the penalty will be utilised to build toilets at houses that lack the basic facility – a toilet.
If someone does not have money for construction of a toilet, they could avail benefits of government schemes for the same. These steps are necessary, they are being taken simply to eliminate open defecation from the district, says village pradhan Arvind Tomar.
The age-old practice in India – Open defecation is the cause of a number of diseases like diarrhoea, jaundice, and polio. Moreover, 22 lakh people die every year due to diarrhoea. This one step can curtail this loss of lives. Baghpat, though is not ODF yet, but, is in a better postion than many parts of the state. The individual household latrine (IHHL) coverage in the district is 86.49 per cent. And, to make it 100 per cent ODF, everyone from authorities to individuals, are doing their bit. Recently on the occasion of Bhai Dooj, two brothers from the district gifted their sisters a unique gift – a toilet as a part of celebrations.
Every effort counts and Baghpat is showing the way in a state where the performance, despite three years into the Swachh movement, has not been up to the mark. Uttar Pradesh has only managed to make its seven districts open defecation free (ODF). But Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has set October 2018 as a date to go completely open defecation free (ODF) and so currently 15,000 toilets are being built daily in the state to achieve the 2018 deadline.