Officials plead with local deity to allow construction of toilets

MUSSOORIE: The local administration has managed to persuade villagers not to stall or break toilets constructed under the Swach Bharat Mission.

editorial@tribune.com

Ajay Ramola

Tribune News Service

Mussoorie, July 14

The local administration has managed to persuade villagers not to stall or break toilets constructed under the Swach Bharat Mission. Swajal, a government organisation, is building toilets in around eight villages in Kotdar Jibya Nyay Panchayat in Uttarkashi district.

The villagers, following a superstition that the local deity is angry with building of toilets in the villages, had refused to cooperate with Swajal. This had forced the administration to call a maha panchayat to explain the importance of toilets to villagers.

The maha panchayat was held at Kyari village where residents from Kyari, Dashgi, Tarakot, Ramoli, Badalda, Suri, Mathali and Jibya villages along with local administration officials had gathered to appease the local deity. They sought his permission to allow building of toilets in the villages.

IAS officer trainee NK Khandelwal, acting as the representative of Uttarkashi ADM RK Pandey, Swajal Project in charge RK Jakhmola, Chinyali Saud Naib Tehsildar Poonam Rayal, Swajal environmental expert LS Chauhan, DDO Dr Anand Singh, former Zila Panchayat member Ranvir Singh Rana and Zila Panchayat member Vimla Nautiyal pleaded to the local deity to permit them to complete the national-level project of building toilets in the villages.

The local deity active in the priest’s body expressed dissatisfaction saying sewage tanks built for toilets were vitiating the environment all along the path leading to the village temple. Earlier, people used to go out in the fields but now toilets were being made right on the temple path, resulting in unhygienic conditions and making it difficult to live in the village, he said.

The administration officials, along with the villagers, pleaded to the deity to allow the construction of toilets as it was important for the better health of the villagers.

The local deity finally agreed after the villagers and the officials pledged that they would not build toilets in the a 15-metre area around the temple in the villages.

Navin Singh, a villager, said the priest possessed by the local deity acceded to the pleas of the administration officials and expressed consent by holding the right hand of the IAS officer trainee, bringing relief to the villagers and the local administration here.

Chinyali Saud Naib Tehsilldar Poonam Rayal said the maha panchayat went on well and the local deity was convinced that the project was for the betterment of the people and the matter was resolved amicably.

The villagers believed that their cows were giving less milk and children were suffering from various ailments due to the curse of the deity. But now they could live peacefully.

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