Madhya Pradesh: Within few months after swearing in as the Prime Minister of the country, Narendra Modi launched the "Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan" with an aim to make India open defecation free by 2019.
However, the picture is not good in Madhya Pradesh where over 100 students at an all-girls government hostel are being forced to defecate and bathe in the open. Scarcity of water is the reason cited by the warden.
It's not that the hostel in Madiyado village doesn't have toilets, but shortage of water has rendered them useless, forcing students to go out, an official said.
The students of Class 6 to 12 have been walking about two kilometres every day for the last one month to reach a drain to defecate, hostel warden Kanti Ahirwar, who accompanies them, told news agency PTI. They even bathe and wash their clothes there.
"More than 100 girl students staying at the hostel have been going near a nullah (drain) to relieve themselves due to scarcity of water," she said.
She said that they informed the district officials, but no action was taken. When she approached the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) -- a central government education programme -- they, too, expressed helplessness.
The warden added, "We manage to arrange drinking water, but getting water for other purposes is not possible.”
District Collector Shriniwas Sharma took note of the problem only when the local media highlighted the issue. He admitted that there is water shortage in the area and said they are trying to solve it.
"No officer had informed me about this problem. I have directed officers to arrange water at the hostel so that the girls are not forced to go out," he added.
As water scarcity has gripped the state, villagers are being forced to walk several kilometers to fetch drinking water. Several schemes launched by the Centre and the state government have failed to bring any relief....