Mangan Ray, a Right to Information (RTI) activist, wanted to complain of ‘toilet theft’ but had to return unable to lodge a complaint at the Tushura police station.
Ray said he went to the police station to lodge the case of theft of 118 toilets that had occurred in Uparjhar panchayat of Bolangir district.
Uparjhar comprises Rengali, Phatamunda, Nuapali, Kohimunda and Uparjhar villages. There are 1046 families eligible for availing funds towards construction of toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission survey.
The records showed that the constructions were done at the cost of Rs 12,000 each and the panchayat was declared Open Defecation Free.
Mangan Ray, who lives in Phatamunda, downloaded the list of beneficiaries from the official website and realised that 31 of his fellow villagers figured in it while the ground reality was that they did not have toilets at their residence.
There much more in store for Ray as he says he found the official report claiming them to have taken the money in two phases – Rs 7,800 and Rs 4,200.
Ray said this made him probe further and through the RTI he found 118 such cases in the panchayat where people were shown as beneficiaries who had availed the funds but were unaware of the entire scheme.
“In number of cases like that of Basanta Sandh, Raibari Bag, Ganesh Rai, people of the same family – wife and husband had been listed as two separate beneficiaries,” said Ray.
In some other cases, the same person enlisted as BPL and APL and shown awarded with two toilets.
When asked about truthfulness of the allegations made by Mangan Ray and other villagers, the officers of rural water supply and sanitation department said they were aware of the complaint and a team of officers with the block development officer and assistant engineer have been sent for verification and inquiry.