On one hand, where thousands of people are reaching new heights in terms of luxurious lifestyle, residents of Ananthapur village in Andhra Pradesh, near Gadwal, wake up only to realise the disquieting plight they live in with lack of hospitals and toilets in the area. With a population of 4920 people and 931 families, Ananthapur remains the most deprived village in Andhra Pradesh in terms of health and sanitation. Abeda Begum, a 44 year old cotton farmer, works as a part time helper in a local Primary Health Centre (PHC) in the village which is the only PHC in the area. “I’ve been working here since last 8 years, when this PHC was constructed; we’ve demanded for a general hospital several a times, however, it doesn’t seem that it shall ever come to existence,” says Abeda.
There are 50 toilets located 500 metres outside Ananthapur, making it difficult for the people to go while in emergency circumstances. Many people choose to defecate in the open near the fields instead of travelling to the toilets which are not even properly maintained.
Women are the worst victims of poor sanitation. “We use either a cloth or sometimes sanitary napkin during menstruation, if available and it is washed and then burnt after use. There is no space for disposal,” said Abeda Begum.
If houses lack toilet facilities, schools and offices remain a hope to the villagers. A sad reality hovers in the primary schools of Linganavayu which lacks the facility of toilets for girls. “Headmaster’s complaints are given consideration only on yearly basis, two years ago, the government came to build a kitchen for mid day meals, but the girls’ toilet is broken since 2005,” said Sirisha Srinivas, the headmaster of Zila Parishad Primary school, Linganavayu.
In Pullur, a group of women travel from autos together to the nearby located washrooms at the same time so that maximum number of women can go together without any issues of safety while being alone.