Ram Prakash’s family, awaiting allotment under PMAY, has no pucca house to live in, but has a concrete toilet-turned kitchen. Photo Credit- Hindustan
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), which was expected to solve India’s housing shortage by 2022 and his pet Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) are playing out a different ground reality in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district.
According to media reports, a family in Akanpur village under Harakh Tehsil of Barabanki district is living in a mud hut but has a concrete kitchen, thanks to the toilet constructed under the SBA one year ago near the family’s mud hut.
"We don't have a house to live in, so we are using this toilet as a kitchen for one year. We live in a hut. A few years ago, a toilet was built nearby under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan but no house has been given under PMAY yet, so we are helpless. I along with my wife are forced to defecate in the open," said Ram Prakash, a member of the family, as quoted by the media.
Ram Prakash has urged the government to provide them with a house to solve their issue.
However, the District Magistrate (DM) of Barabanki, Adarsh Singh, said that they haven't received any such request for a house. "We have not received any such request for house. We will investigate the matter and try to provide proper accommodation. Our aim is that if a woman doesn't have accommodation then we will try to provide them with it immediately," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
The DM also said that if there was negligence on the part of the gram panchayat and Pradhan, then action would be taken.
Commenting over the issue, a Barabanki-based social activist who wished to remain anonymous told Newsclick, "This is not a single case in Akanpur hamlet. There are numerous such cases in Barabanki district where families are either cooking in open space as they do not have a house or have received a house under PMAY scheme and do not have toilets. They (villagers) defecate in the open as many walls have been built in the name of toilets, but the toilet seats have not been installed."
He said: “A huge number of toilets are pending construction as the sarpanch (village head) is not willing to complete the work. In fact, we do not even have a drainage system in many parts of the district and roads here are not constructed properly. We have submitted a complaint to the village secretary regarding the toilets but nobody has paid heed,"
Further, Keratinpurvi hamlet in Barabanki district, which is 60 km away from the Lucknow state headquarters, follow the same ritual owing to the absence of toilets in their village. According to official data available at the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin website, the whole Hazratpur GP has 620 households, of which 116 did not have toilets and eight were Below Poverty Line (BPL), as per records.