The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Department has planned to construct two western-style toilets in each village for the benefit of the aged and persons with disabilities who cannot squat.

Announcing the department’s decision during his first official press conference here on Friday, RDPR Minister H.K. Patil said that each village would have two such public toilets, with western commodes, one each for men and women.

Mr. Patil said these toilets would be constructed as part of the six lakh toilets to be constructed by the department in the current financial year.

“We have already directed zilla panchayat chief executive officers to include western toilets in their action plan, and very soon we will see these constructed,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that although many welfare programmes were aimed at bringing about a change in people’s lives, basic solutions were being ignored.

“People need to improve their living standards. Often we see aged people, persons with disabilities and those with bone-related ailments unable to squat on the toilet. Once the action plan is implemented, we will be able to give details about how many will be constructed under the plan,” Mr. Patil said.

The Minister said initially there would be problems in the implementation of the plan, since people were not accustomed to using western commodes. “We need to educate them on the use and maintenance of western toilets,” he said.

Mr. Patil said that while the department had set a target of completing six lakh toilets for households by extending assistance of close to Rs. 10,000 each, it was contemplating extending additional assistance to villages for constructing western toilets.