Jaipur: Villagers in Gangithala in Rajasthan's Bhilwara district were recently asked to build toilets to ensure they receive electricity supply to their homes.
- Officials told to cut off power supply after 15 days of non-compliance
- Order given as part of awareness mission to stop open defecation
- Order later revoked by District Collector
In the bizarre order, that has now been revoked, sub-divisional magistrate Kartar Singh instructed the discom officials to disconnect electricity supply to the village after 15 days if they do not construct toilets.
Mr Singh claimed that only 19% of the villagers have built toilets despite repeated attempts to persuade and educate them against open defecation. "The gram panchayat did a survey and found that people have not built toilets in their homes, but they were fined and let off. Only 19% of village households have toilets, so I have given an order to the electricity department that if they don't start work soon on building toilets, their electricity should be disconnected and their rations should be stopped also," he said.
Mr Singh, however, backtracked when senior district officials stepped in and had it revoked.
"We feel this order is too harsh," said Bhilwara collector Muktanand Agarwal. He said that the SDM has been asked to modify the order. "There is no need to cut off electricity and take such harsh measures. In fact the people should be motivated instead to build toilets," he added.
On August 18, the SDM was on an awareness mission to stop open defecation when he came across villagers defecating near Piplund village. The villagers reportedly refused to be persuaded into agreeing that they would not go out for open defecation.
The SDM then asked the police to arrest the six men. They were only released after signing a bail bond of Rs 10,000 each and agreeing to build toilets in their homes in 15 days and start using them.