The Bangladesh government has taken an extensive programme to establish sanitary latrines within the year 2010. But no measure has been taken to reform and keep clean the existing latrines set up in the schools, colleges, madrashas, mosques, hat-bazars and crowded places in different localities. The people have no idea about sanitary latrines and they do not know how to use them. On the other hand, the ordinary people are becoming ill with different kinds of infectious diseases for using these dirty and unclean latrines.
On the above mentioned subject, this writer is trying his level best to draw the attention of the government through the different newspapers. The local government administration was informed of the matter on the last October 23, 2004, and this scribe was informed by the letter memo no. pro. 2/2-17/2004/1108 dated November 27, 2004, that according to the hat-bazars rules 3 [ka], toll collection system is imposed by the related lease holders and they will make necessary arrangement to clean the said latrines. After enquiring at different bazars on the spot, it was found that the above policies are not followed anywhere.
A meeting to exchange views of the NGOs on reformation and supervision of the existing latrines was held at Pabna Press Club by the single initiative of this organisation on May 13, 2005. In that meeting Punjab Ali Biswas [formal MP], the executive director of PPL was made chairman and an ad-hoc committee was formed with 15 NGOs as members. Besides in the same meeting a decision was taken to launch a social movement to reform and keep the existing latrines clean. Once again this writer informed the local government administration under the local government ministry about the issue concerned on June 2005 and the local government administration requested the DC Pabna to take necessary steps by the order under memo no. Ad 2/2-17/02/785 dated June 25, 2005. The DC Pabna has requested all the UNOs [upazila nirbahi officers]. The UNOs have requested all the UP chairman in this respect.
It is a matter of regret but fact that the issue is confined to only correspondence. No effective measure has been taken to keep the existing latrines of the district clean. We have come to know from different sources that the existing latrines are in the same conditions all over the country. Here it is also noted that it is not possible to keep the existing latrines clean through toll collection from people coming to the hat-bazars. The ordinary people coming to the hats and bazars have to pay excess taxes over the fixed rate on the days when hats sit. It is our duty to continue the system of keeping the existing latrines clean by the income of lease fund or deducting a small portion from the land transfer tax.
So, I request the related administration, the donor groups and the NGOs, who are working in the area of sanitation to come forward in this respect.
Musharraf Hossain Musha
Pabna Road, Ishurdi, Pabna