The government school of Polapathar village in Betul, MP, had toilets for students and 3 hand-pumps but no water. As a result, the students had no access to drinking water. Not just that, lack of water in the toilets forced the students to open-defecate. This resulted in high dropout rate among girls above 7th standard.
Rashmi didi, a villager, was concerned about this issue for a long time. She tried talking to the Sarpanch and the teachers of the school about the issue but nothing changed. Nobody had a clue as to who is responsible to resolve this problem. When Rashmi didi joined the Civic Literacy and Engagement Programme cohort, she understood the Constitutional framework of working on similar issues. She wrote an application to the Janpad Panchayat and the District Education Office of Betul regarding the hand-pumps. The officer refused to accept the complaint and directed her to PHE department. The department gave an assurance that the problem would get resolved. But again, nothing had changed. After going to many offices and waiting for more than a month she decided to file an online complaint. Within 15 days, the hand-pumps were up and running!
Not knowing one’s roles and responsibilities as a citizen is probably the only thing that stops people from taking action. But once you understand the power of the Constitution and your rights as a citizen, there is nothing that can stop your efforts. Listen to Rashmi didi’s story here.