ROQUE DIAS | NT
MARGAO: Flying in the face of state government’s assertions vis-à-vis open defecation, a recent survey conducted by the Goa Tribal Association has found that just 50 per cent of the scheduled tribe households in Goa have toilets.
Scores of households of the tribals do not have toilets as the dwellings are built on tenanted land, and several ST householders are embroiled in land disputes with landowners.
A large number of other tribals – Gawda, Kunbi and Velip – have not been able to build toilets due to financial problems.
“The survey has found that 50 per cent of the ST houses have toilets, while the remaining 50 per cent of the tribal households do not have the much-needed toilets,” GTA president Joseph Vaz has said.
The GTA survey was conducted some three months ago to ascertain the number of ST population so as to facilitate availing of central government schemes.
The survey has also found that 70 per cent of the ST households have water connections and nearly 90 per cent of them have electricity connections.
The tribal department has a scheme for ST families to construct toilets. But the problem is: the tribals do not own the land, which deprives them of having a toilet. Most of the ST members have built their houses either on land of communidades or private landowners. Some of them are embroiled in land disputes, Vaz explained.
“Toilets are essential for human existence. It is sad to note that many ST members are compelled to answer the nature’s call in open. I will soon be meeting the tribal department director to discuss the matter. We have interacted with several ST leaders to gather the details. Besides, we have collected data from the social welfare, tribal and rural development departments. The updates will help us present the demand in right prospective,” said Vaz, a noted ST leader.
The survey has also found an increase in the ST population in the state.
“The GTA survey has found that there has been an increase in the ST population in Goa: there are 1,51,541 ST persons in Goa as against the 2011 census recorded number of 1,49,275,’’ he said.