India woman leaves home for lack of toilet
- 14 February 2012
- From the section India
A newlywed woman in a village in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has won her struggle to have a toilet at her husband's home.
Anita Narre left husband Shivram's home two days after her marriage in May last year because the house had no toilet.
She returned eight days later after Shivram, a daily wage worker, built one with savings and aid from villagers.
An NGO announced a $10,000 reward for Mrs Narre for her "brave" decision and forcing her husband to build a toilet.
More than half-a-billion Indians still lack access to basic sanitation.
The problem is acute in rural India and it is the women who suffer most.
Shivram said he was not able to build a toilet at home because of lack of money.
He admitted that his wife returned home only after he constructed one with his savings and "some support from the village council".
"It is not nice for women to go outside to defecate. That's why every home should have a toilet. Those who don't should make sure there is one," Mrs Narre told the BBC.
Many people in India do not have access to flush toilets or other latrines.
But under new local laws in states including Chhattisgarh, people's representatives are obliged to construct a flush toilet in their own home within a year of being elected. Those who fail to do so face dismissal.
The law making toilets mandatory has been introduced in several states as part of the "sanitation for all" drive by the Indian government.
The programme aims to eradicate the practice of open defecation, which is common in rural and poor urban areas of India.
Special funds are made available for people to construct toilets to promote hygiene and eradicate the practice of faeces collection - or scavenging - which is mainly carried out by low-caste people.