By S.S. Moorthy
Carmel, IN: I am reacting to a news report — In MP, 70 percent of families defecate in public — published in India Tribune dated April 20.
This is not peculiar with Madhya Pradesh alone. It is true with the whole of India, particularly with rural areas. In most places in cities and towns, except in state capital cities, there is no underground sewage disposal system. Most of the towns have built septic tanks in the recent years.
In rural areas, the people are poor and cannot afford to install their septic tanks. Many laborers live in small huts with no toilet facilities. The central government has allotted funds to install septic systems in slums of major cities, and take up some development projects in villages. In UP the allocated funds were misused by politicos, and toilets were not installed. The money was essentially pocketed by political leaders and bureaucrats. How can poor people afford to have toilets, if the government officials are corrupt and indifferent?
In 1940s and 1950s, when we were growing up, we had no toilets in the villages. Roaming pigs were scavengers. In many cities, the municipalities used people, who collected excrement in open trucks and transported it to some places where it was disposed. It was an unhygienic practice. Even now many big cities do not have proper sewage system, consequently during rains, the storm water and sewage water flood streets posing health risk to people.
India claims progress and development in many areas; but people still live in unhygienic conditions.
We have to change our system in India. There is no use of making tall claims, while people live in unhygienic conditions. Corruption at all levels must end. Public defecation must end. It is a national shame.