In a development that highlights the shortcomings of the panchayati raj system, a family in Madhya Pradesh has been fined Rs 75,000 for open defecation. The family lives in a village located in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh. The fine was imposed by the panchayat of Rambhakhedi village. The panchayat has also sent notices to 43 other families, asking them not to defecate in the open. Speaking about the fine, Rambhakhedi village panchayat’s employment assistant Kunwarlal said that the family had already been advised a month earlier to stop defecating in the open. However, the family did not pay heed to the directions of the village panchayat. This is why a fine of Rs 75,000 has been imposed on the family.
Providing the details of the fine, Kunwarlal said that the fine has been imposed as per the Madhya Pradesh Panchayat (Swachhata Tatha Nuisance Nivaran Tatha Upshaman) Rules, 1999. The fine was calculated at the rate of Rs 250 per day and it was applicable on each of the 10 members of the family. The village sarpanch Ramrati Bai said that a toilet has already been constructed at their home, but still they are unwilling to use it. She said that despite repeated warnings, the family did not stop defecating in the open. However, experts said that Rs 75,000 fine is way too steep. It would be difficult even for the rich people to pay such a fine.