UP villagers build toilets on their own, refuse government's grants
A noble gesture of the Mubarakpur Kala villagers in Uttar Pradesh's Bijnor district left the administration authorities pleasantly surprised a few days ago. Turning down Rs. 17.5 lakh from the government, the villagers chose to collect money for building toilets as a "good deed" to mark the holy Ramzan month. Post-inspection, the village was formally declared open defecation free (ODF) on 9 June.
Constructing toilets is a good deed, say villagers
The villagers said, "This is the month of Ramzan, when one should give but not take any monetary help, and do good work. To construct toilets in every house is good work and we will do it on our own."
Mubarakpur Kala, a Muslim majority village
Mubarakpur Kala village in Bijnor district has a total population of over 3,500; it has 661 families, predominantly Muslim. Earlier, only 146 families had access to toilets in their houses; others had to use the fields. To make the village ODF, the district administration sought a proposal from the village pradhan, Kishwar Janha, who sent the proposal to the concerned authorities.
Government released Rs. 17.5 lakh for constructing toilets
Later, Chief Development Officer (CDO) Indramani Tripathi and the District Panchayati Raj officer Manish Kumar released Rs. 17.5 lakh into the joint bank account of Village Pradhan and Gram Secretary to distribute among the needy villagers to build toilets.
Village decides to return the government money
Before sending ODF proposal, Janha held a meeting in the village; everyone, especially the women, urged the Pradhan about the need for a toilet in every house. After the money was released, another meeting was held where the villagers unanimously agreed to not accept the government money. They said it was their duty to build toilets and agreed to collect money on their own.
CDO Tripathi's statement
"It may be the first village of the state whose residents refused to take a single paisa from the government to build toilets. It is a marvelous gesture. Residents of Mubarakpur Kala, and the pradhan, have set a noble and novel example for us."