This Maharashtrian woman sold her 'mangalsutra' to build toilet
New Delhi: Sangita Awhale, a woman from Saikheda village in Washim district, sold her 'mangalsutra' to build a toilet inside her house.
Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde on Thursday honoured 30-year-old Awhale for her efforts to promote cleanliness. As a token of appreciation, the minister bought a gold necklace for Sangita.
“Toilet is a basic necessity, compared to ornaments. I sold my ornaments and decided to build the toilet,” Sangita said.
Sangita's story is similar to that of several other women in rural Maharashtra, who have to defecate in the open. India is considered to have the world's worst sanitation record despite spending some $3 billion since 1986 on sanitation programs, according to government figures.
“During my first term as a legislator, I used to allocate 25 per cent of my funds for building toilets. Our target is to build maximum number of toilets and ensure that women don't have to face any inconvenience on this count,” Ms. Munde said.
In a major move aimed at cleaning up India and improving sanitation facilities, last month Prime Minister Narendra Modi started the 'Swach Bharat Abhiyaan' or 'Clean India' campaign. His move even got praise from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates who said "this is not the kind of issue that most politicians like to talk about. But I would guess that in the short time he has been in office, Prime Minister Modi has done more to raise the awareness of the need for toilets than any other leader since the country gained independence".