In Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi, toilets built under Swachh Bharat Mission exist only on paper, open defecation continues

I stood there struggling to make myself fit in the tin-box. The two feet by feet (barely), windowless container was one of the over 90 million toilets India claims to have built under Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the past five years. In trying to figure out how to negotiate my limbs, the curious journey through winding, steep stairs to the rooftop toilet and the subsequent 10-minute struggle to lock the rusty, clanging door was forgotten. The pan of the squat toilet was tiny, fit for a child. It was not meant for the long legs of an adult. The toilet is sparkling new. It was installed two years ago. It’s sparkling because the household doesn’t use it.


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