5-time BJP MP’s kin defe­cate in open

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION -

Bhopal: In an eye-opener for the Swachh Bharat Mis­sion, it turns out that Anup­pur district pan­chayat pres­i­dent Roop­mati Singh Marawi — daugh­ter of five-time BJP MP Dal­pat Singh Paraste — defe­cates in the open along with her en­tire fam­ily. So do 50,000 fam­i­lies in Anup­pur.

Roop­mati is a res­i­dent of Kham­rodh vil­lage, about 130km from the district head­quar­ters. She was elected district pan­chayat pres­i­dent in 2015. Asked why she doesn’t have a toi­let at home when she should be spear­head­ing the ODF drive, she tried to ex­plain to TOI that the “process was on”. “Work started in April this year but it started rain­ing and then there was har­vest sea­son. How­ever, we have restarted build­ing the toi­let and it will be com­pleted within a week,” Roop­mati said.

Paraste died in June 2016. Asked where the fam­ily defe­cates if the toi­let has not been built, Roop­mati said: “As of now, we have to go out in the open.” She quickly added that it was mon­soon that stalled the toi­let. The truth is that Anup­pur was among the rain­fall-de­fi­cient re­gions this mon­soon.

Sources in the district ad­min­is­tra­tion said that as many as 1.44 lakh houses in the district are with­out toi­lets, and 50,000 fam­i­lies defe­cate in the open. There are only 93,134 houses that have toi- lets. Asked why the district was lag­ging be­hind, co­or­di­na­tor of Swachh Bharat Ab­hiyan, Ram Naresh Verma, said: “Around seven months ago, all the elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives — in­clud­ing mem­bers of district pan­chayat, sarpanchs, and panchs — were in­structed to build toi­lets if they don’t have one at home. They were warned that ac­tion will be taken against them un­der the Pan­chayat Raj Act. Most of them have con­structed toi­lets.

Now, we have launched a door-to-door ver­i­fi­ca­tion drive. Still around 20% fam­i­lies are with­out toi­lets, and we are ad­vis­ing those peo­ple.”

SWACHH BHARAT? Anup­pur district pan­chayat pres­i­dent Roop­mati Singh Marawi (L), the daugh­ter of BJP MP Dal­pat Singh Paraste, said the process of build­ing a toi­let at home ‘was on’

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