At a time when Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and being Open Defecation Free seems to be the aim of every state, over a 100 girl students of a government hostel in Madhya Pradesh are being forced to defecate and bathe in the open!
The hostel in Madiyadoh village, about 60 km from the district headquarters, has toilets, but shortage of water has rendered them useless, forcing students to defecate in the open, an official said.
The hostel’s inmates, Class 6 to 12 students, have been facing this problem for the past one month, hostel warden Kanti Ahirwar told the Press Trust of India.
“More than 100 girl students living here have to go near a nullah (drain), about 2 km from the hostel, to relieve themselves due to water scarcity in the hostel,” she said.
“Both the bore-wells of the hostel have dried up. There is no water in the hostel for the past one month. So, the girls are forced to go to the nullah. I accompany them,” Ahirwar said.
She said that senior district officials had been informed about the problem on several occasions, but there is no change in the situation.
“The hostel management is somehow arranging water for drinking, but getting water for other purposes is not possible,” the warden said.
The girls are forced to wash their clothes in the nullah water and take bath there, she said.
She said senior officials associated with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)– a central government education programme — were also informed about the problem, but they, too, expressed helplessness in resolving the water scarcity issue.
However, after the photos of the girls going for open defecation appeared in the local media, District Collector Shriniwas Sharma took note of the problem and asked officials concerned to look into the issue.
“No officer had informed me about this problem. I have now directed officers concerned to arrange water at the hostel so that the girls are not forced to go out to answer nature’s call,” he added.