India, Tamil Nadu: public toilets in disrepair, villagers suffer

Public toilets constructed seven years ago in an Indian village, soon fell in disrepair because the pump that provided the water supply stopped working, and did not get repaired. Now the 2,500 inhabitants of Kokkarapati village, in Trichy district, Tamil Nadu, are deprived of any sanitation facilities, IndiaUnheard reports.

Non-functioning public toilet in Kokkarapati village. Video still, IndiaUnheard

The villagers have been demanding their administrators to undertake the necessary work, but their requests remain unanswered. The majority of the villagers are poor, and the public toilets were the only sanitation they could rely on, and they are now left with no other choice than defecating in the fields, or in any space where they can afford a bit of privacy.

Margaret Jeoji, a community correspondent for IndiaUnheard in the area, posted a video about the lot of the villagers, who have been left without toilets for the last 5 years. “The situation is particularly difficult for women, because they feel ashamed when have to go in the open. So they go late in the evening or very early morning,” explains Margaret. “During every election campaign, politicians come to the village and promise that the toilets will be repaired, but once they are elected nothing happens,” she adds. Margaret, a long time activist, is determined to make change happen. As soon as possible, she wants to show her video to the Block Development Officer, to confront him with his responsibilities, and to the villagers and local women groups, to help them mobilize to get their rights fulfilled.

Watch Margaret’s video report of 22 June 2011, posted on the IndiaUnheard channel on

2 responses to “India, Tamil Nadu: public toilets in disrepair, villagers suffer

  1. The social worker in the video Margaret Jeoji, can be contacted through Video Volunteers which runs IndiaUnheard, see

  2. This is a terrible state of affairs, and I am sorry to see people suffering under such a needless situation. If we can help in any way by sending portable toilets to India, let us know and we’ll see what we can do

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