Indal kashyap
Indal kashyap
I am Indal kashyap, I am Lucknow based freelance journlist.
Stories by Indal kashyap
 20 Dec, 2023

Toilets are crumbling units in many villages of Uttar Pradesh's Sitapur

Residents prefer open defecation citing faulty construction, but the fact remains that they only supervised the toilet work using the money received in their bank accounts under the Swachh Bharat MissionSitapur, Uttar Pradesh: “The gram pradhan [village head] got our toilet built three years ago, but we do not use it. The construction is not good,” averred Neelam Devi (36), a resident of Natpurwa village in Sidhauli block of Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district. There are 12 members in her family, but everyone defecates in the open. “Poor quality bricks,” they reasoned.Vilasha Devi (65), a resident of Garha village in Sidhauli block, said her family used to use the toilet in the initial one-year period. “After that, we stopped because the toilet was not well constructed. There are nine people in our family, now everyone goes out for defecation. When guests come to our place, they also defecate in the open,” she said.Villagers using plastic containers in the toilets (Photo - Indal Kashyap, 101Reporters)According to the National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS), Round 3, 2019-20, 98.6% villages in the country reported that no visible faecal matter was found in the areas that were used for open defecation in the past. According to state wise data, 98.8% villages were declared open defecation-free (ODF). It said that 95.8% of the households in Uttar Pradesh had access to toilets, whereas 94.4% individuals used the toilets accessible to them. The percentages of houses with functional and hygienic toilets were 96.1 and 98.1, respectively.Under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Grameen Phase-II, 6,14,658 toilets have been constructed across 2,310 villages in Sitapur. However, the toilet use is not prevalent as expected in some villages of the district due to several reasons, despite the government efforts to create awareness on toilet use through various mediums.“About five years ago, gram pradhan told me about the SBM. We applied and received Rs 12,000 from the government for constructing a toilet. However, I had to spend an extra Rs 3,000 from my pocket to make a quality construction. But it was a wise decision because my entire family still uses the toilet. Our soak pit is not full yet,” said Narendra Kumar (35), a beneficiary from Basaideeh in Kasmanda block of the district.Piyush Kumar* of Ramshala in Machhrehta block of the district said there was no water facility in the toilet. So, the family does not use it. "Construction is so bad that we fear bricks will fall on us while using the toilet." Sunitha*(50) of Ramshala said five people in her village built her family’s toilet about five years ago. “Cement was used only on half the toilet, the other half was made of mortar and sand. Our toilet shakes, it is not structurally solid. So we are afraid of using it,” she said.Toilet door is broken (Photo - Indal Kashyap, 101Reporters)“There is no water in it either. If we used the toilet, its soak pit would fill up and we would have to spend money to get it cleaned. I do not want that to happen. There is no facility for cleaning in the village. No one even made us aware about using the toilet,” she exclaimed.  Shravan Kumar (38), who cleans sewers in Lucknow, said there were no sewer lines in villages, so people make septic tanks or soak pits in their homes. Soak pit does not require cleaning for 8 to 10 years. Swamp gets formed in it and great care has to be taken while cleaning it.   Nandram Yadav, the pradhan of Jaipalpur gram panchayat in Sidhauli block, told 101Reporters on phone that 40% of the 350 toilets built under SBM in 2014 in his panchayat have fallen into disrepair. "Women and youth try to use the functional toilets of their relatives in the neighbourhood, while elderly men defecate in the open mostly," he said. Asked about the awareness programmes to curb open defecation, Yadav said the village authorities have created awareness among the residents about the use of toilets.Bhagauti Devi is still waiting for toilet (Photo - Indal Kashyap, 101Reporters)Sandeep Kumar, Block Development Officer, Sidhauli, told 101Reporters on phone that the money to construct toilets is sent to the beneficiary's account through direct benefit transfer in two instalments. “The beneficiaries get their toilets constructed themselves. We create awareness among villagers about the disadvantages of open defecation. We are constantly trying to ensure that people do not defecate in the open."“I do not have a toilet, no one has given me one despite applying. I go out to defecate, but face many issues. If I had one, I would not have to go out,” said Bhagauti Devi (65), who lives alone in Garha village.*Names changed to protect identityEdited by Rekha PulinnoliCover Photo - Neelam Devi of Natpurwa village standing outside the toilet (Photo - Indal Kashyap, 101Reporters)

Read Now  
 4min Read
  
Toilets are crumbling units in many villages of Uttar Pradesh's Sitapur

 27 Oct, 2023

Testing times for jal sakhis as incentive remains pending for years together

They were to receive Rs 20 for every water sample tested under Jal Jeevan Mission, but have not received a single penny from the very beginning Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh: Working tirelessly to test water samples under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is nothing new to Pushpa Devi (35) of Bhandra village in Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh. She leaves home at 10 am and tests water at five to six houses, before returning home by 5 pm. As a jal sakhi, she works 20 to 25 days and tests water samples from 100 to 150 houses every month. Pushpa is among the 5,50,000 women who have been trained in Uttar Pradesh on how to use Field Test Kits (FTKs), in a bid to monitor water quality at the community level. The kit includes 11 types of chemicals, a test tube and a measuring cylinder. The government provides jal sakhis with the kits, for which households do not have to pay. After the test, jal sakhis write down the water report in a register and later upload it on the JJM Water Quality Management Information System (WQMIS) portal.Five jal sakhis were selected from each village panchayat to go from village to village and check the water coming to homes, taps, wells and hand pumps. In Jhansi district, over 3,000 women test samples by going door to door, while also making people aware of the diseases caused by consumption of contaminated water. Jal sakhis demonstrating the water tests (Photo sourced by Indal Kashyap)Zubair Khan from Sai Sahayog Sansthan that provides training to jal sakhis in the district tells 101Reporters that women were educated about 11 types of water testing using FTK and about uploading the report on the WQMIS portal during the two-day training given at the block level. Fifty to 100 women participated in one session of the training programme.Pushpa was selected as jal sakhi in 2021, but she has not received any incentive for her work to date. So is the case of Suman Shrivas (28) of Deori Ghat village.“When I came to know about jal sakhi recruitment by the gram panchayat samiti, I filled up the required form. A few days after my selection, I attended a four-day training and got a certificate in this regard. I got the field test kit four months after training. I was told I will get Rs 20 per test, and by that standards, I will earn around Rs 10,000 a month. I was very happy to hear that because by staying in my village itself, I could manage my expenses,” Shrivas tells 101Reporters. Shrivas works for about 15 days in a month. On those days, she finishes her household chores early and leaves at 9 am. There are four women in her group, and they go out for field work together as all of them use the same kit. The team conducts approximately 50 tests a day, and 600 to 700 tests a month. They return home by 4 pm. However, when there is work in their agricultural fields, they can conduct only 400 to 500 tests in a month.“We have been working for almost two years without getting payment. Bank account details and Aadhaar numbers were taken from us several times, but still payment eluded us. I do not even have money to recharge my mobile phone. I have to fight with my husband for that. When I remind him that I have to upload test sample reports on WQMIS portal, he gets angry and tells me to stay home if I am not getting money for my work,” Shrivas says.Shakuntala Devi (43) from Chakara Bambhauri joined work in 2019, but received training only next year. She and her four group members go to the field together. They go to 10 to 15 nearby villages to test water samples. Shakuntala visits about 30 to 40 houses a month in her role as a jal sakhi.“Ever since the JJM launch, I have tested about 1,500 samples without getting any incentive. Initially, we did not go to the block office seeking payment. After working continuously for six months, we started asking for it, but without any result,” she says.Meanwhile, Mauranipur Block Development Officer Sunil Kumar Singh told 101Reporters that the block panchayats had no role in the work of jal sakhis. "Their selection was done at the village panchayat level and no official of the block was involved in it," he claims.There are 2,37,231 Functional Household Tap Connections in Jhansi district. Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam is the executing agency of the project, run under the State Water and Sanitation Mission. When asked about the non-payment of dues by Jal Nigam, Jal Nigam Executive Engineer Ranvijay Singh tells 101Reporters that about 3,000 jal sakhis work in Jhansi district, of which data of 1,140 women have been verified for payment.Group leader training Jal Sakhis with water testing kits (Photo sourced by Indal Kashyap, 101Reporters)“As many as 652 women have been paid an initial amount of Rs 200 to 400. The rest will get their incentives soon. The data that earlier came to us from Sai Sahayog Sansthan had many flaws, due to which there was a delay in payment. Now, it has been corrected and verified. Problems have occurred in paying the women whose numbers were not linked to Aadhaar, and whose Know Your Customer verification was not done," he said.On behalf of Jal Nigam, 101Reporters were given the mobile numbers of five jal sakhis who got their payments. However, when one of these numbers was contacted, Meera* said, "I updated my passbook 10 days ago. The money has not been credited to my account." Yet, Jal Jeevan Mission adviser Radha Krishna Tripathi told 101Reporters that a total of Rs 2,11,85,000 has been given as incentive to 89,210 women in the state to date, while the payments of 22,384 are being processed. Meanwhile, Pushpa says she spoke to the officials concerned at the block level several times for payment, but the requests went unheard. “We were told to do the work and get paid… When we are not paid, why should we work? I have not gone to work for the last one month," Pushpa concludes.*Name changed to protect privacyEdited by Rekha PulinnoliCover Photo - Group of Jal Sakhis performing the tests (Photo sourced by Indal Kashyap, 101Reporters)

Read Now  
 5min Read
  
Testing times for jal sakhis as incentive remains pending for years together

Write For 101Reporters

Follow Us On

101 Stories Around The Web

Explore All News