TIRUCHY: A tiny village panchayat -- Ammapatti in Thuraiyur block -- is set to become the first one in the district to have toilets in all the households, by January 15, 2015. District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) and District Panchayat officials said they selected the backward village panchayat where a total of 1,800 people live, most of whom are agriculture workers.
There are 460 households and so far, construction of 277 toilets has been completed under the Swachh Bharat State Balanced Growth Fund project (SBGF). The project is partly funded by the State government.
Since the SBGF is made to reach one backward area in the district, the officials selected Thuraiyur block. “Under this programme, the entire Thuraiyur Block in Tiruchy district will be made free of open defecation,” says District Panchayat Secretary, Kaliyaperumal.
A fund of `75 lakh has been allotted exclusively to cover the rural households in Thuraiyur block, which has 34 village panchayats. “Accordingly, we have first initiated the project in Thuraiyur block, which is a backward one and it will add impetus for others to take a cue,” he said, adding that around 15,000 loos would be constructed in a phased manner in three years.
Scope, a Non-Governmental Organisation, has joined in disseminating awareness on open-defecation and involved in Information, Education and Communication (IEC) programme, in which the members directly are visiting households and explaining the dos and dont’s on open defecation. “The initiative should act as a model for other households and if we gave up open defecation, our district will be named as ‘clean district,” Scope director Subburaman said.
Project Director, DRDA, S Ramasamy said that awareness on open defecation has been spreading and construction of toilets are in full swing, even in other blocks.
The government is providing `10,000 per toilet for construction and remaining `5,000 should be paid by house owners. However, if the household members are willing to involve in construction works, `1,200 would be deducted and they should pay remaining amount. In case, if family members are unable to pay the amount, the NGO is providing a loan, which the members can repay later with one per cent interest. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme workers are being involved in the construction works.