PERAMBALUR: A lack of facilities and maintenance at the integrated sanitary complex for women at Olaipadi village in the district despite funds claimed to having been utilised towards it till as recently as two years ago continue to put women residents in hardship.
Considering the plight of the village residents who were forced to practise open defecation, an integrated sanitary complex for women was built by the panchayat in Olaipadi years ago. It, however, lacked facilities like water pipes, mugs, buckets and power supply, making residents to claim it not having been used since it was thrown open to public.
With them adding funds as having been shown as utilised towards maintenance of the complex till 2017-2018, the residents also claimed inaction by panchayat to their petitions.
A Raja, a resident of Olaipadi, told TNIE, "The complex was set up here to prevent women from defecating in the open. But the women did not use it as the complex did not have the necessary facilities. This again forced them to defecate in the open. Officials are not aware although we filed petitions."
"Two years ago, officials wrote maintenance of the complex as having been carried out at a cost of Rs 79,000, on its wall. But no work has been undertaken here.
They only took money in the name of maintenance each year," he added.
Another resident, M Revathi* said, "We used the integrated sanitary complex when it was thrown open. However, due to lack of water and adequate facilities, we stopped going there and till now we are forced to defecate in the open. I have a 14-year-old daughter. The same situation applies for her."
The monsoon season has only compounded their woes, with the village’s stagnation problems making it difficult to defecate even in the open, she added. The authorities should inspect the complex and bring in the necessary facilities and maintain them properly, she further said.
When contacted, Olaipadi panchayat president Dhanam Periyasamay said, "The complex has been inactive even before I took over as panchayat president. However if people bring up their petitions to me I will take action to make the complex functional, depending on the funds available."
*Name changed on request