BALASORE: The much-touted bio-toilets are lying defunct in Bhadrak district for over a year as technical details of construction of the toilets are neither available with District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM) nor its State counterpart.
The bio-toilets were installed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on a pilot basis in Dhamara and Basudevpur of the coastal district which houses India’s strategic missile test facility at Wheeler Island.
Sources said of 12 such loos set up in 2012, only three are in working condition now. While eight bio-toilets, dubbed as E-loos, were installed in villages, four were set up in Basudevpur NAC area. The toilets were constructed for community use at Jayadurgapatna, Amarnagar, Dhamara, KK Pur and Mandari.
The villagers alleged that the toilets lack water supply and proper ventilation. “The toilets lack adequate space for use and do not have ventilation ducts. The toilets were used only for a few days after installation and most of them are lying in an abandoned state now,” said a local, Gouranga Panda.
The residents claimed that the bio-toilets were not user-friendly. While the excreta was not getting flushed out, the water supply was irregular. Later, the doors of the toilets were damaged.
The units were so small that people felt suffocated inside. As foul smell started emanating from the toilets gradually, people stopped using them. Surprisingly, the district administration has turned a blind eye to the issue, they alleged.
Deputy Secretary of Rural Development (RD) Department Subash Chandra Das said the Department was unable to repair the bio-toilets as it did not have technical details.
Though the DWSM and Bhadrak Collector have asked the DRDO authorities to make these toilets operational as well as supply technical details, there has been no response yet.
With the toilets lying defunct, around 1,020 families are forced to go for open defecation. Of those families in four villages except Mandari, who depend on the bio-toilets, only 170 have individual household latrines (IHHLs). Mandari comes under Basudevpur NAC where four bio-toilets were constructed.
Das said the BDOs of Chandabali and Basudevpur and Executive Officer of Basudevpur NAC have been instructed through the Collector to issue work orders for construction of IHHLs in these villages.