Participating in Swacch Bharat Abhiyan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proved costly for some sarpanches in Chhattisgarh. Eleven sarpanches have now threatened to commit suicide if the funds for the scheme are not released by authorities in Kanker. Sarpanchs threaten suicide after PM Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat mission land them in debt trap
Now, these village officials are being subjected to threats by material suppliers if they fail to pay dues.
“My village was declared open defecation free on April 7 and construction of 299 toilets was approved by the administration. I was told by Janpad CEO that it was mandatory for each house to have a toilet. When I found there were 49 additional houses that need toilets, I was told to arrange raw material for the same with the promise that payment would be made later. Now, for the past one year, I am burdened with a loan of Rs 23 lakh,” Mahar Singh Usendi, sarpanch of Dongarkatta village of Bhanupratappur block in Kanker told.
Now, everybody from labourers and traders to material suppliers are chasing them to get their money back.
Usendi further says that he was unable to get funds from Zila panchayat as the money is not released form the government.
“I am burdened with loan of Rs 37.16 lakh. Our worry is that there is no written approval given for constructing the additional toilets that we built. We are anyway not left with any other option than ending our lives,” Sewakram Gawde, another Sarpanch from Dongargaon was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Meanwhile, panchayat CEO BL Dehari said that he is also waiting for the money to be sanctioned by higher authorities.
Kanker Collector Shammi Abidi said he was not contacted by any sarpanch.
“I just spoke to zila panchayat CEO and he has that Rs 1 crore has just been sanctioned from state and the money would soon be released,” said the Collector.