Woman sells cow in Bihar to construct toilet

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Patna, April 17 (IANS) A poverty-stricken woman in Bihar’s Gaya district sold her cow to construct a toilet at her house.

Tetri Devi, in her late 60s, sold the cow which was the only source of livelihood for her family.

“After I found it impossible to get government funds to construct a toilet, I had no option but to sell my cow for Rs 14,000,” said Tetri, a resident of Tewarichaak village, about 140 km from Patna.

Contrary to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s promise to construct toilets on a large scale in Bihar, Tetri, a BPL category person, has been living in a small house constructed under the Indira Awas Yojna, along with her ailing husband, son and daughter-in-law without a toilet for years.

According to the woman, when she approached the block level officials for funds, they ignored her.

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“My daughter-in-law is a Class 10 pass and she is fully aware of a toilet’s importance in one’s house. She has insisted time and again to construct a toilet. But we either ignored her or cited shortage of money for its construction.

“But recently she offered to sell her jewellery to raise money to construct the toilet. I refused her offer and decided to sell my cow instead.

“It is a shame for a woman to defecate in the open and a toilet in every home is a must,” Tetri said.

Admitting that the decision was a tough one, Tetri said: “I strongly felt that constructing a toilet is more important than providing milk to my ailing husband.”

Block Development Officer Parnav Kumar Giri said that Tetri was an example and an inspiration for others.

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“We will felicitate her at a function for her unique effort soon,” Giri added.

The officer said the government allocates Rs 12,000 to a beneficiary only after an entire village ward or panchayat become open-defecation free (ODF).

But in her case a special recommendation has been made to pay her the amount, Giri added.

Earlier this year, another woman sold four of her goats to construct a toilet at her house in Rohtas district.

There were also reports of women leaving their in-laws’ house due to a lack of a toilet.

Millions in Bihar still practice open defecation and not a single district has been declared ODF so far.

–IANS

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