RANCHI: Breaking into a guarded male bastion, roughly 55,000 women from Jharkhand have turned ‘Rani Mistry’ (women mason) to meet shortage of masons for the construction of toilets under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in Jharkhand.In a unique move, the state rural development department has trained the women of Self Help Groups (SHGs) formed by Jharkhand Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS) to engage them in construction work in rural areas.
JSLPS CEO Paritosh Upadhyaya said, “Initially, to overcome acute shortage of masons, SHGs given responsibility for construction of toilets in rural areas in the state. “Some of the women from the SHGs itself were imparted mason-training for a month in three blocks of Ranchi, Pakur and Simdega districts with the help of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) as a temporary arrangement.” Later, as their demand increased in other districts, similar groups were formed and were imparted basic mason training for construction of toilets and were called Rani Mistry, he added.
“They have been playing an important role in the implementation of SBM and more than 1, 45,000 toilets have been constructed through the SHGs only.” Most of the women masons are engaged in the construction of toilets but efforts are being made to involve them in other construction work so that they could meet the demand of masons at the rural level, he added.“A database is also being prepared by the department along with their phone numbers, which will later be shared with other departments so that they could be engaged in other construction works in rural areas on priority basis,” said the CEO.
Presently, there are at least four-five trained ‘Rani Mistry’ in each of the Panchayat of every district, he added. “These women are basically attached with the SHGs formed by JSLPS, who were trained to boost employment opportunities while increasing their income and simultaneously meet the demand for masons in rural areas.” Once trained, they can also move out to the urban areas and work as masons, he added.
Koilan Rose of Bundupani and Eshrati Roshni of Kolamdega villages of Simdega, who were trained by JSLPS as ‘Rani Mistry ‘in 2016, claimed that their lives changed entirely after joining the SHG.
“Initially, people used to laugh at us and wonder how a woman will work as a mason, but of late they have started encouraging us,” said Eshrati. “We get `2,100 for construction of a toilet, which is shared by two ‘Rani Mistry’ and is generally completed in three days.”
● Roughly 55,000 women have become masons to meet the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan demands
● On an average, two women masons get C2,100 for construction of a toilet
● There are at least four-five trained Rani Mistry in each of the Panchayat of every district
● Swachh Bharat mission gave the drive a boost as each Panchayat had to be made ODF in a limited time frame