PATNA: "I will remember this year raksha-bandhan whole life as the day of unique happiness," said an elated 40-year-old Indu Devi, after getting the key of an 'ijjat-ghar' (toilet as referred by PM Narendra Modi) on Monday.
Indu cited," Humko ek bhai bhi mila DM sahab me aur ek ijjat-ghar bhi iss raksha-bandhan mein (I have got a brother in district magistrate and an /ijjat-ghar)." She is the wife of a farm-labourer Shravan Mandal, who has not been able to build a toilet because of extreme poor economic conditions till that day.
She was not alone, who went on cloud nine in Bihar's Purnia district after receiving the keys of the ijjat-ghar. Poonam Devi also turned so emotional after receiving the key of a toilet. "Have got the gift of a toilet built by a migrant from the hands of my collector brother on Raksha Bandhan - the day that happens to be the most auspicious one in the life a woman," said Poonam, wife of Chandan Mandal.
She recalled a year-old incident when her daughter was bitten by a snake while on her way to attend the call of nature at night in a field. "Ab waise na hote kuch (Now thing like that will happen), " she uttered holding a key of a toilet.
Living at a remote Gauriar village of Purnia's Rupauli panchayat, both these women along with other women first tied rakhis on the wrist of Purnia District Magistrate Rahul Kumar before receiving the keys of toilets from the hands of DM as gifts for dignity under the Lohia Swacch Bihar Abhiyan (LSBA).
22-year-old Sonam Kumari had also arranged for a rakhi that she tied on the wrist of the DM and went on cloud nine after receiving the keys of an ijjat-ghar in the district on the Raksha Bandhan.
Damodari Devi (50,) after receiving the key of an ijjat-ghar, said that she was "lucky to get the key of a toilet built by a 'migrant bhai' from the hands of her 'collector-bhai 'and that too, on the day of Raksha Bandhan as a gift to save our ijjat' (dignity)".
Ankur Mandal, one of those migrant-labourers, who built 10 such toilets, present on the occasion said that he felt happyseeing the women receiving the keys of toilets he along with other labourers built amid the COVID-19 crisis in June and July.
Around 2,834 poor women living in remotes parts of district were gifted the keys of ijjat-ghars (toilets) by the officials of district, led by the DM.
"When migrants returned to Purnia during the lockdown, we utilised the construction skills of 1260 such labourersto make 2,834 toilets under the LSBA scheme in 246 panchayats. And we thought it better to hand over the keys of toilets to those women ,who don't have access to toilets because of their poor economic conditions, on the day of Raksha Bandhan as gifts to their dignity," Purnia DM Rahul Kumar said.
"Many of them called me bhai and I saw a festive-like cheer prevailing on their faces with the keys of toilets. Now, we have decided to built community sanitation centres also in addition to the toilets for the people of poor families," he said.