Is the state capital really open defecation-free (ODF)? Officials of the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) say yes, but ask Noor Ali, a resident of Branch road Daliganj, and the answer will be no.
Ali’s marriage that was scheduled to take place on February 9 has been cancelled. The reason? The bride-to-be, a resident of Moazzam Nagar in Thakurganj, refused to marry him after she learnt that his two-room house did not have a toilet.
“We are four brothers and three sisters. My mother was hit by a train and died when she went out to attend to nature’s call. After that, I tried to construct a toilet in my house, but the in-charge of the Daliganj Kabristan objected and claimed that the land belonged to the graveyard. However, some other people were allowed to build toilets in their houses,” said Ali, a zardozi artisan.
“There are 22 homes around the Daliganj Kabristan and most don’t have toilets because permission to construct them was denied. All houses here belong to lower income groups, mostly Muslim zardozi artisans . Now, I am thinking of moving away,” he said.
“I pleaded with the bride’s family to not cancel the marriage, as all preparations had been made — the band was booked, so was the venue of marriage and ‘waleema’ (reception),” he said dejectedly.
Ali also said that colony members had approached officials of the LMC for construction of sewer lines and toilets but nothing materialised.
However, additional municipal commissioner Amit Kumar insisted that Lucknow was ODF. “I will visit the place and see the problem that the family is facing. But Lucknow is ODF, as we have more than 360 community toilets with 3,500 seats in 350 sq km city area. This comes to around one toilet per sq kilometre,” he said.
“Not only this — LMC has constructed 15,000 toilets inside houses too. We have also organised hundreds of awareness programmes,” he said. Terming the incident of Ali’s marriage being called off as “unfortunate”, he added, “But it is good to see increased awareness among masses, especially girls and women.”
First Published: Jan 14, 2019 08:21 IST
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