Superstitions wash out sanitation here

May 06, 2013 12:00 am | Updated 06:06 am IST - NAMAKKAL:

Toilets are yet to be considered an integral part of houses in rural areas of Namakkal

Superstitious beliefs, religious sentiments and vasthu shastra are making construction of toilets in rural areas of Namakkal district in Tamil Nadu an uphill task.

P. Aruna (32) and her husband Periyasamy (45), a truck driver of Parali panchayat, stopped constructing a toilet and filled up the leach pit with debris. “An astrologer came to our house and told us that we should not dig any pit or else our five-year-old boy will have a bad time,” the couple said.

Kalaiselvi (23) and Sivasakthi (30), a carpenter of Aniyapuram panchayat, demolished the toilet that they built at a cost of Rs. 6,000 and rebuilt one, spending Rs. 25,000 to match the specifications given by their vasthu consultant. Villagers also halt construction of toilets in times of temple festivals as it is considered inauspicious.

According to census 2011, in Namakkal, 59.6 per cent of the rural population and 43.8 per cent of the total population defecate in the open. A technical officer of an NGO involved in sanitation projects, Paul Antony, says a leach pit should be 10 metres away from wells and borewells as it is designed to allow water from the pit to be absorbed by the soil. “But there are many cases in which it is dug close to a well because a vasthu consultant has shown them the spot. It will affect people,” he added.

Director of LEAF Society, an NGO involved in constructing toilets in the rural localities, S.L. Sathiya Nesan, says efforts made by the government and NGOs to motivate rural people to build toilets will not yield results as long as they believe in superstitions. “Construction of toilets is a science. Vasthu experts give advice to construct toilets such that it would not serve the purpose of a toilet,” he observed. “Neighbours who see fellow villagers spending on toilets refrain from building one. A study conducted among villagers showed that each family spends around Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 8,000 a year for religious festivals but will not invest in a toilets,” he added.

“An astrologer said we should not dig any pit or else our five-year-old boy will have bad time”

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.