DIANA FERNANDES | NT
Colva: Though the government has announced the installation of community toilets in different wards of village panchayats in order to make the state open defecation free (ODF), some of these community toilets are yet to be set up.
The village of Colva in South Goa was allotted three community toilets but the villagers and their elected representatives say the toilets look like showpieces.
The panchayat had received the three toilets before August 31 as part of the Chief Minister’s aim to make Goa an ODF state. But till date, the villagers are awaiting installation of these toilets.
“These community toilets that have been given to us look like showcases that have been brought and kept for show. There is no proper finishing done and no water or electricity connections yet. Applications for individual toilets have also been sent and we are constantly told we will get them, but nothing has come up as yet. The government has already taken an undertaking that our village is ODF but on the ground that may not be true,” said Colva sarpanch Anthony Fernandes.
He said that there was objection from the villagers to one of the three toilets which was supposed to be put up near church. He said that one of the community toilets has been set up in a public place, on the beach, while the other two are awaiting installation. However, he questioned the quality of the toilets.
“The tourism department has installed toilets on Sernabatim beach which are of good quality and covered on all the sides. These (Colva panchayat) community toilets, however, are not good at all,” he said.
The panchayat members said that the toilets were allotted to the village after an undertaking from them certifying that the village was ODF.
Panch Dylan Gracias, meanwhile, said that villagers were enquiring about the individual toilets. “The higher authorities told us to give an undertaking that our village is ODF, which we did, but we are yet to receive any of the individual toilets. After giving the declaration, there has been no response from the government. People are asking us why the toilets have not come up and we have no answer,” said Gracias while appealing to the block development officer (BDO) and the Chief Minister to provide the individual toilets as soon as possible.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had in a letter to the panchayats dated August 26 sought the cooperation of village panchayats to make Goa an open defecation free state under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin). As a first step, the Chief Minister had said installing community toilets would be undertaken while also assuring that individual bio-toilets would be installed later.