National Human Rights Commission
Manav Adhikar Bhawan, Block-C, GPO Complex, INA,
New Delhi – 110023
I with my present complaint bring to your notice that the residents of Batrigach area (an erstwhile Bangladeshi enclave) are deprived of clean sanitation. The said Batrigach area is located under Boroshoulmari Gram Panchayat, Block-Dinhata-I, Police Station-Dinhata, District-Cooch Behar, West Bengal. About 69 families consisting nearly 350 persons reside there. After the execution of the Land Boundary Agreement between the Government of India and the Government of Bangladesh, the said erstwhile Batrigach enclave become a part of India like many other enclaves, but even after lapse of few years since the agreement, the benefits of citizenry rights are yet to be provided to the residents of the such erstwhile enclaves in full force. One of such citizenry rights of having clean household sanitation is not provided to the residents of Batrigach till date. Under such situation they have to practice open defection and under risk of water and sanitation related diseases. Since households are primary unit of sanitary latrine system, there is importance of household sanitation to ensure proper disposal of excreta waste as well as prevent open defecation.
However, the residents of Bhatrigach, being economically deprived, made several representations to the local Boroshoulmari Gram Panchayat to get household sanitation under the government schemes. But the authority in the gram panchayat did not show any interest till date to address their problem. Having no other way, the residents submitted a mass petition on 31.03.2017 before the Block Development Officer, Block-Dinhata-I demanding household sanitation. But till date no action has been taken on their mass petition showing utter abysmal inaction to improve the quality of life of the rural people and also to provide privacy and dignity to women.
The residents of Bhatrigach are entitled to get benefit under ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ for household sanitation under the government schemes for improvement of their standard of living and way of life. However existing denial of such right to them amount to violation of their human rights for safe environment, better health, better standard of living and right to life as enumerated under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The Cooch Behar district administration has declared that there was no dry latrine in the district; just ignoring the real fact. A large number of enclave dwellers residing at Batrigachh enclave, mostly women folks shared their pains in this regard before MASUM. (attached picture)
Under the circumstances, I seek your kind intervention on my present complaint and I would like to place my following demands for your kind consideration:-
- The whole matter should be enquired into by an independent investigating agency.
- The Block Development Officer, Dinhata-I and authority of Boroshoulmari Gram Panchayat must be held responsible for inaction.
- The concerned authorities must be direct to immediately address and acknowledge the complaint submitted before the Block Development Officer, Dinhata-I on 31.03.2017 by the residents of Bhatrigach and provide them proper household sanitation.
- Any other action as the Commission may deem fit and proper.
National Convener, PACTI