Chotu Rautia repeated requests for a house under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) bore no result. So the 50-year-old daily wage labourer has begun living in the 4ftx5ft toilet he managed to get under another government scheme.
Chotu Rautia outside his ‘house’ in Odisha’s Jalada village. Clothes and a mosquito net hang on a line. Vessels lie scattered on the floor next to a stove. Chotu Rautia’s house in Sundargarh’s Jalada village looks like any other — except it’s a toilet he was allotted under the Swachh Bharat Yojana.
Rautia’s repeated requests for a house under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) bore no result, so the 50-year-old daily wage labourer has begun living in the 4ftx5ft toilet he managed to get under another government scheme.
Rautia’s parents lost their first home to the Rourkela Steel Plant when it was set up in 1955. Five years ago, after his parents died, Rautia settled in the house his father had built at a resettlement colony. He had trouble maintaining the asbestos roof, and soon the walls began to crumble as well.
When he heard of PMAY, he applied with the help of his neighbours. “I approached block officials and local leaders to get a house under the scheme. I ran from pillar to post to no effect,” said Rautia, a tribal and a BPL card-holder.
In February, a couple of officials heard of his plight. They did not have the means to allot him a house under PMAY, but they could help him get a roof over his head — through that of a toilet. “I came to know of Rautia’s plight recently so I persuaded him to let me help him construct a toilet,” said Japur Oram, sarpanch of Jalga gram panchayat.
By March, the toilet was ready. It had four sturdy walls, which is more than Rautia’s house had. When the sun beats down or when it rains, Rautia walks into the 6ft-high structure.”When the weather is good, I sleep outdoors. Otherwise, I stay in the toilet,” he said. With his toilet playing house, Rautia treats the outdoors as his toilet.