BERHAMPUR: Twenty families in Ganjam district have not been given ration supply after a panchayat body decided to stop the benefits from reaching people who were found defecating in the open.
According to a decision taken at a panchayat meeting on October 20, the distribution of ration under the public distribution system (PDS) was stopped to over 20 families, said Sushant Swain, sarpanch of Goutami panchayat in Sanakhemundi block.
If anyone was found defecating in the open, particularly on the roadside, the panchayat has decided to instruct the dealer concerned to stop giving ration to such people for a month, Swain said.
The move is aimed at making people aware of the need to use toilets, he said.
Around 300 women, all members of a self-help group, patrol the open spaces from 3 am to 5 am and 5 pm to 7 pm to keep a vigil on the violators, the sarpanch said.
“If they find anyone defecating in the open, they inform the panchayat. The women do the work voluntarily,” he said.
Initially, several villagers had opposed the decision of the panchayat but the number of people defecating in the open is now gradually reducing, he claimed.
Those who do not have toilets in their houses have been asked to build toilets in the next two months under Swachh Bharat Mission, Swain said.
Goutami panchayat has around 2,000 households with a population of 4,563. Of these, 180 families do not have toilets in their houses at present, he said.
However, some of them have initiated steps for the construction of toilets, he added....