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Toilet scam in Madhya Pradesh; Rs 540 crore goes to waste

MP toilet scam: The toilets were supposed to have been officially constructed between 2012 and October 2018, but they don't exist anywhere on the ground

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In        Last Updated: February 10, 2020  | 14:33 IST
Toilet scam in Madhya Pradesh; Rs 540 crore goes to waste
MP toilet scam: The matter came to light when some villagers raised the alarm in Betul's tribal Lakkadjam panchayat and complained to officials

Over 4.5 lakh 'paper toilets' worth Rs 540 crore identified to be built across Madhya Pradesh (MP) are found to be missing. Although the loos' photographs are geo-mapped and submitted to the government authorities, the scamsters managed to beat technology to siphon off funds designated for building the toilets.

The privies were supposed to have been officially constructed between 2012 and October 2018, but they don't exist anywhere on the ground. Officials are of the view that the photographs, which were submitted as proof, were snapped someplace else to exhibit that the money was spent on toilet construction.

Also Read:Swachh Bharat mission: World's largest toilet-building initiative drives sales of sanitaryware, hygiene products

The matter came to light when some villagers raised the alarm in Betul's tribal Lakkadjam panchayat and complained to officials who then pressed into quick action, reports The Times of India. The investigation into the matter revealed that four Swachh beneficiaries had no knowledge that toilets were constructed in their names, the report said.

Not only do their homes have loos on official records but the government portal shows them standing before toilets as well. However, officials eventually found out that all four were clicked in front of a neighbour's toilet.

This disclosure has set the alarm bells ringing with the panchayat and rural development authorities detecting 4.5 lakh such missing 'paper toilets' to the tune of Rs 540 crore across the state.

Also Read:Census 2021: Govt to seek info on toilets, mobile number, vehicles owned; NPR alongside from April 1

Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Swachh Bharat Mission (Rural) Madhya Pradesh, Ajit Tiwari, told the news daily that a baseline survey was carried out in the year 2012 where "62 lakh above-poverty-line households without toilets were identified in the state." He further mentioned that the construction of all these toilets was completed on October 2, 2018, but to make sure that they were actually present and 100% complete, "we conducted a survey and physical verification using 21,000 volunteers. But, during this survey, around 4.5 lakh toilets were found to be missing."

When asked about how the fraudsters managed to surpass technology since Swachh toilet photos were GPS-tagged, Tiwari explained that the GPS was precise up to six metres and most likely the pictures of toilets within the six-metre range were uploaded in the name of beneficiaries or the pictures constructed before 2012 were uploaded.

Also Read:MP govt creating jobs by setting up new industries: Guv Lalji Tandon

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