A minister in Madhya Pradesh has said a toilet can also be used as a kitchen, provided there is a partition that separates the two. The comments by state Women and Child Development Minister Imarti Devi came after Anganwadi workers at a public health centre in the state's Shivpuri district were found cooking midday meals inside a toilet, with utensils kept on the toilet seat.
"You should understand that a partition exists there. These days even in our homes we have attached latrine-bathroom. What if our relatives refuse to eat in our house saying that we have attached latrine-bathroom?" said Imarti Devi, news agency ANI reported.
"Utensils can be kept on the bathroom seat. We keep utensils in our houses also. The pot is unused and is filled with gravel," she said. "An enquiry would be conducted in the (Shivpuri) case."
In a complete departure from basic hygiene, the Anganwadi workers had converted the toilet into a full-fledged kitchen to make food for children at the public health centre in Shivpuri, 280 km from state capital Bhopal.
A gas cylinder and a stove have been installed inside the toilet that also doubled up as a kitchen.
"A self-help group had taken control of the toilet and was using it as a temporary kitchen. Action is being taken against the Anganwadi supervisor and workers involved. Arrangements will be made for making a proper kitchen as soon as possible," said Devendra Sundryal, District Officer of Women and Child Development programme told ANI.
Anganwadi centres provide basic healthcare in villages, including contraceptive counselling and pre-school activities.
According to the World Health Organisation, faecal contamination is responsible for nearly eight lakh deaths of children under the age of five every year across the world. Rotavirus, transmitted by faecal-oral route, causes gastrointestinal upset and severe diarrhoea in babies and children.
With inputs from ANI
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