Vegetable vendors of Patharega gram panchayat (GP) in Ramabhadrapuram Mandal of Vizianagaram District in Andhra Pradesh will soon be able to sell their grocery items from a new location – a former defecation site.
Earlier, people from homes without toilets would defecate there, while still dark. Since it was barely 200 metres from the cluster of homes in village, the area was unapproachable, owing to the practice, a matter that deeply troubled Sarpanch of the GP, Gorli Srinivasarao.
In addition, the paths within the village were quite narrow – just about 4-5 feet in width. It was on the sides of these paths that vegetable vendors would set up their stalls. This made the paths very congested, leaving very little room for the grocery stalls or movement of carts and other vehicles.
To address the matter, the Sarpanch along with the GP leaders recently took a decision to relocate the vegetable market to the site that is commonly used for open defecation by the people. The move is likely to stop people from using the area to relieve themselves and at the same time hasten building of toilets at their homes.
According to HRD Consultant, Sudhakar (Rural Water and Sanitation Programme) in Andhra Pradesh, the initiative will solve two problems at the same time – one, stop people of the village from defecating in the area, and two, provide a common selling platform for vegetable vendors to operate from.
Work is currently in progress for the new market, equipped with a platform measuring 1 foot deep and 1 foot high with space allocated to each vegetable vendor. “The foundation is being built and work will be completed in a couple of days,” Sudhakar confirmed.
For the 14 odd families whose livelihood depended on vegetable business, they couldn’t be happier with the new arrangement that will provide them ample space to set up their stalls and also store their products.
Ramabhadrapuram Mandal is home to 22 GPs and 52 villages. As far as Patharega GP is concerned, of the 348 households that reside there, 61 now have their own toilets. While toilets have been constructed upto the roof in 78 homes, leach pit work has been completed in 145 of them and construction is yet to commence in 64 homes.
Local NGO – Bapuji Grameena Abhivruddhi Seva Sanghamam has taken the responsibility of constructing toilets in these homes. Its chief functionary, M. Tirupathirao has assured them that work will be completed within 10 days.
At the rate at which construction is being carried out, Sudhakar is confident that all homes will have toilets by early March. In the meantime, the district administration is continuing with triggering activities, stressing upon the importance of using toilets and keeping their environment clean.