A beggar from West Bengal’s Murshidabad district has decided to construct a toilet, and in the process used up part of the alms she had saved over the years.
As covered by Hindustan Times, a resident of Nowdapara, 75-year-old Rahima Bewa recounts how people told her about the harmful effects of open defecation. Bewa who had lived without a toilet all her life decided to change things and as a result, constructed one at the cost of around Rs 15,000.
Funded by a part of her meagre savings, the construction of the toilet has begun with the purchase of bricks and pipes and arrival of masons. After being complete, it will be the only brick and mortar structure in her house which is otherwise built out of mud.
The life of Bewa who takes care of her 50-year-old differently-ableded daughter, has been marred with tragedy, with includes her being thrown out of her previous house, by her sons. Bewa’s husband Din Mohammad who used to be a farmer, died 20 years ago, which forced her into begging.
Her sons not only threw her out of ‘their’ home, but they also took the subsidy provided by the state government for construction of toilets.
With the government of West Bengal being hostile towards the Central government, it has created its own form of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, called Nirmal Bangla. Under this scheme, the state government provides Rs 10,000 for the toilet’s construction and the benefactor has to pay Rs 900.
Even though Bewa isn’t eligible for any grant, the Block Development Officer (BDO) of Behrampore has assured that they would help her.
A similar incident to that of Bewa has come to light from Bihar where, another such poor woman has built a toilet using the money she raised by knocking on the doors of nearby villagers. The woman Amina Khatoon, in Bihar’s Koshi region is a widow and works as a labourer.
As per Amina, she had gone to the block level officers asking for funds but they decided to ignore her plea. Sensing he commitment towards the cause, a few labourers decided to help her in building the toilet free of cost. The district administration later finally decided to wake up to the matter and felicitated her for her efforts.