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Ramadan Gesture: Villagers turn down Govt. money, builds toilets themselves

Villagers of Mubrakpur kala

“This is the month of Ramzan, when one should give but not take any monetary help, and do good work. To construct toilets in every house is good work and we will do it on our own”

BIJNOR: Residents of a village in Bijnor turned down Rs 17.5 lakh from the government, and built their toilets all on their own as a good deed of Ramadan. This gesture left the administration authorities in astonishment.

After inspection, the village, Mubarakpur Kala, was declared open defecation free (ODF) on Friday.

Mubarakpur Kala falls under Haldaur block and has a total of 661 families, predominantly Muslim, making a population of over 3,500. Only 146 families had toilets in their houses. Others used the fields. The district administration had sought a proposal from the pradhan, Kishwar Janha, to make the village ODF. She prepared the proposal and sent it to the authorities.

Chief development officer (CDO) Indramani Tripathi and district panchayati raj officer Manish Kumar had then released Rs 17.5 lakh into the joint bank account of the pradhan and gram secretary to distribute among needy villagers to build the toilets. But the officers were shocked when the villagers returned the money to them and said, “This is the month of Ramzan, when one should give but not take any monetary help, and do good work. To construct toilets in every house is good work and we will do it on our own.”

CDO Tripathi said, “It may be the first village of the state whose residents refused to take a single paisa from the government to build toilets. It is a marvellous gesture. Residents of Mubarakpur Kala, and the pradhan, have set a noble and novel example for us.”

Pradhan Janha said, “Two months ago, we held a meeting at our village. Everyone, including a large number of women, participated. The women in particular urged us about the need for a toilet in each house. Then officials came here and it was decided to release the money to our villagers. After we got the money, we held another meeting, and asked the villagers whether we should take government aid or not. We unanimously agreed to do it on our own as it was our duty. For those too poor to afford it, we decided to collect money and help them.”