A shitty story

An assignment from Les Echos Week-end magazine, along with Carole Dieterich, correspondant based in Delhi. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ (Clean the Country) is one of his electoral big promises. The aim is to put an end to open defecation in the country. So, dozens of thousands of toilets have been built. It is a nice idea, but as usual this government is prompt to make grand announcements, and twist some figures or hide some facts… Some progress has been achieved, this is undeniable, but why say that the problem is totally fixed? Is it enough to quickly build concrete blocks with a hole inside? No of course, maintenance and a properly built structure are most essential. But the women we met took it seriously and thanks to the funds allocated to this program they could build, with quite some pride, their own toilets in their gardens. Then it works fine.

Kailash Kumar at work in the street, after the sewers inspection chambers were opened. Two men lift him down, in his underwear, to check and clean with a small shovel, whatever could clog the way of the wastewater. All of them belong to the low caste, the Safai Karmachari, scavengers who were always assigned, by birth, the manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks, without any real equipment or machine. Rohini, India, November 2019.
Johann Rousselot Blog #03
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