The District Administration of Yavatmal, Maharashtra, has declared 664 Gram Panchayat members from the district as “ineligible” on Tuesday “for failing to construct a toilet in their houses”.

There are 1207 Gram Panchayats in Yavatmal district with 6,272 members.

The membership of 664 Gram Panchayat members from different Gram Panchayats of Yavatmal district has been cancelled by the district administration for failing to construct a toilet at their houses within the given stipulated timeframe till January 2012,” said a statement issued by the Yavatmal District administration.

Additional Collector of Yavatmal district, Mr. Indrasen Tatkare, gave the ruling on Tuesday.

According to the district administration, this is the first time that such a strict action has been taken against Gram Panchayat members.

“Toilets are considered very important in terms of sanitation. It is mandatory for the Panchayati Raj and Nagar Parishad members to have toilets in their homes. A stipulated time frame was given to all the gram Panchayat members of the district to construct a toilet at their houses,” said the statement.