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Open defecation shocker for Raisen villagers; 13 families penalised for Rs 4.8 lakhs

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Saeed Nadan

RAISEN: Thirteen families in Veerpur of Begumganj in Raisen district got a shock of their lives on Friday morning when they were slapped with hefty penalty – total to the tune of Rs 4.8 lakhs – for defecating in the open.

The action came when a team of local administration headed by Janpad panchayat CEO Reema Ansari went on an ‘inspection’ drive in the village during the wee hours and caught members of some of the families defecating in the open.

The families were slapped fine at the rate of Rs 250 per day per member and therefore the total fine in case of two families came to Rs 75,000 each. The penalty was imposed under provisions of the MP Village Panchayat (Cleanliness, Sanitation and Nuisance Eradication) Rule, the authorities said.

Experts are however terming the action as authoritarian as there are no provisions of such hefty fines under Swachch Bharat Abhiyan they feel. Activist Sachin Jain has said that this is an example of over enthusiasm and insensitive action by the officials. “They are neither conversant of government rules nor with the ground realities. This only dents the image of government machinery,” he said.

CEO Reema Ansari defended the action by saying that all villagers were given enough time to give up open defecation and motivated through the local monitoring committees to use pucca toilets constructed for them. They were also repeatedly warned to give up the unsanitary habit, but to no avail, forcing them to go for penalty imposition.

Those fined include ten members of Aleem Khan’s family were fined at the rate of Rs 250 per day coming to a total of Rs 75,000 for the entire month. Also fine of Rs 75,000 was imposed on 10 family members of Raisa Bi, wife of Basarat Khan.

Similarly fine of Rs 30,000 was imposed on four members of Dilip Singh’s family, Rs 45,000 on six family members of Ashok Kumar, Rs 30,000 on four members of Rajesh Patkar, Rs 45,000 on six kin of Chittar Lal.

Rs 37,500 was imposed on five members of Shivcharan, Rs 30,000 on four members of Dharmraj Singh, Rs 15,000 on two members of Nilochan Singh, Rs 30,000 on four members of Devi Singh, Rs 60,000 on eight members of Kamod Singh and Rs 7,500 on Nirpat Singh.

Sayeed Nadan

Sayeed Nadan has been a journalist for 25 years. He has covered the region, particularly, Central MP, extensively.