Post Mortem

A need for convenience!

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/13/2019 12:07:33 PM IST

 The PHED Minister, in Oct 2108, made an official and proud declaration of Nagaland being the 4th State in the North East and the 22nd state in the country to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. Stating that Nagaland is ranked 15th in the country under the prescribed sanitation parameters and I quote, “Together, it shall be our endeavor to see that Nagaland is ranked among the top 10 in the country.” Well, firstly, I don’t see any logic in comparing with the other states or for that matter attempt at figuring in the top 10 list. Toilet block is an important facet in the overall gambit of sanitation but the essence is not mere ranking, instead to facilitate attending to a basic human need with dignity and convenience.

Defecating in the open is a practice that does not necessarily belittle most residents, which is but a harsh reality in most remote villages that houses substantial populace with negligible income source. 25k to 30k is the minimum requirement for installing a standard toilet block. Day to day circumstance and challenges for the family, therefore, dictates where best to spend whatever little income they earn. Incidentally, to most families, there are more genuine matters to address than the convenience of a toilet facility. At a stage when our country boasts of being one among the fastest growing economy, if not first! it is shameful that sizable number of residents has to put in unnecessary effort to attend to nature’s call.

Provision of toilet facility is not a new thing as has been hyped after the implementation of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Concept of community based toilet facilities came about since the early eighties but failed to sustain and the one reason I can think of is lack/shortage of water, not necessarily awareness of the populace.  One obviously cannot use a toilet facility relying on twigs and papers and with water source situated far from homes, residents cannot afford to use a major portion of the hard fetched water for toiletry purpose. So if a particular project is being instituted, best it is if its efficacy is ensured by amalgamation of facilities that complement the other.

Come October 2019, another effort for ranking would start taking rounds and concern departments would be on their heels to up the ante, however, that should not be the essence. Rather than conducting inspections for the purpose of ranking, it would be prudent to attempt at checking serviceability and ways to facilitate longevity of the existing facilities. Infrastructure cannot be created through random distribution of materials viz three bags of cement, three CGI sheets, a fiber commode etc and therein reposing confidence in the residents for its installation. Haphazard installation can only entail further inconvenience in the neighbourhood by stench and possible risk of contacting communicable diseases. Authorities, therefore, need to check for themselves on ground and not declare or confirm ODF status as per royalty of their homes.

Khumlamo Patton, 

Akuk Village

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