Anita Narre, a bride in Betul district in Madhya Pradesh walked out of her husband’s home in 2011 as it lacked a toilet. Thus inspiring the recent Bhumi Pednekar and Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’. Now the same village is making headlines for taking another bold step. On September 12, the Amla Janpad panchayat fined Rs 75,000 to a family for defecating in the open.
The family of 10 members has been fined Rs 75,000, at a rate of Rs 250 each day. “About a month back, Kunwarlal and his family were advised to stop defecating in the open. However, they turned deaf ears to it. So, a fine of Rs 75,000 was imposed on the family of 10 members,” Rambhakhedi village panchayat’s employment assistant said to PTI. He further added, “The fine was imposed for one month at a rate of Rs 250 per day on each of the 10 members of the family under Madhya Pradesh Panchayat (Swachhata Tatha Nuisance Nivaran Tatha Upshaman) Rules, 1999.” The panchayat has also served notices to 43 other families. So far, out of the 68-gram panchayats, only 13 are open-defecation free.
Talking to Indian Express, 56-year-old Kunwarlal says, “It was a big embarrassment to become known for something like this. Many have got notices but my name was used repeatedly by the media.” Another villager, Punjabrao was fined for Rs 45,000 for not building toilet despite warnings, says, “Let them take me anywhere they want after the deadline for paying the fine ends. I don’t have any other option.” The family admits that they can only construct a toilet if they get the subsidy of Rs 12,000 in advance as no one will provide the construction materials required. Beneficiaries are provided subsidy only after they build a toilet and submit a proof by posing next to the structure.