Shivpuri: Deaths point to scam in toilet construction

Shivpuri: The death of two children after a toilet caved in at Rathkheda village under Pauri police station on November 11 pointed to corruption in construction of lavatories under the Prime Minister’s Swachch Bharat campaign.

The children Raja Adhiwasi and Prince Adhiwasi belonged to a tribal family.

Villagers told Free Press that to declare Shivpuri an open defecation-free (ODF) district, the administration quickly constructed toilets without monitoring the quality of work.

The collector has set up a committee to probe corruption in construction of toilets and said action will be taken against the guilty on the basis of the probe report.

Congress MLA Suresh Rathkheda belongs to the village where the children died. The tribal family members who have lost their children are in panic and begun to remove every brick of the caved-in toilet from the campus of their house.

The villagers further said that the toilets had been built in 2013. Although the district has been declared ODF, residents still defecate in the open, because the administration has left the toilets half-built, said Kotwar (village guard), Ram Singh.

Most of the toilets in the village are in a bad state, and the villagers have demanded reconstruction of those lavatories, but the administration has refused to do that.

Assistant secretary of Panchayat Sashikand Dhakad, a relative of Rathkheda, said the toilet which caved in was not constructed during his tenure.

He has taken over as Panchayat secretary only this year, he said, adding that the toilet constructed a few years ago fell because of poor quality of work.

When the issue was raised before Rathkheda he said the caving-in of the toilet was the result of massive corruption during the 15 years’ rule of the BJP.

He said the Congress government would inquire into the matter and the guilty would be punished. The family members of Prince and Raja would be given financial aid.

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