Pradeep Pattanayak

In what makes a mockery of the government’s pucca house scheme, a 45-year-old woman has been living in a toilet for the last five years in Balasore district of Odisha. 

Satyabhama Nayak, a resident of Darakholi village under Nilgiri block, is forced to make her toilet her home after not getting a pucca house under any schemes despite running from pillar to post. 

Satyabhama is living alone with none to call her own. When her father was alive, they used to live in a thatched house. Her father has long been dead. Till five years ago, her address was her thatched house. But then misfortune visited her in the form of a gale and blew the roof from over her head away. 

Having been rendered homeless and the government's helps eluding her; she was left with no option but to live in her toilet. 

Over the years, she has been doing rounds of government offices for a pucca house, taking her problem up with officials including the district Collector but all turned a deaf ear to her plights. 

“Barring five kilograms of rice, I am getting no other help from the government. Not even any pension. I am living alone after my father’s death,” said Satyabhama looking vacantly at the toilet where she has stashed all her belongings-some clothes and a few utensils. 

“Her parents have long been dead. Her sister is married off. And she is now living alone. Every day I see her cook her food in her toilet. At night, she may sleep on others’ verandahs,” said Bhima Besera, a local resident. 

At a time when political parties are indulging in politics over pucca houses, the fact that the plight of Satyabhama is not troubling any has surprised many. 

In this regard, even the local Sarpanch’s best efforts yielded no result.  

“During the Panchayat election, I had promised to give her a pucca house after winning the election. I won the election, but my all efforts to give her pucca house went in vain. I have taken her problem up with the block development officer (BDO),” said Minati Murmu, Sarpanch. 

When asked, Nilgiri BDO Rahul Mandal said, “I will visit her (Satyabhama). I have also instructed the concerned Panchayat officer to submit a detailed report on her condition. After getting the inquiry report, a decision will be taken.”

(Reported by Biswambar Das, OTV)