Meet Assam’s Mukul Molia Who Encouraged Villagers To Build Toilets

Mukul Molia's Gram Panchayat was the first in Assam to gain an ODF status in 2015


Mahatma Gandhi had said that sanitisation is more important than independence. Taking note from the Father of the Nation, Mukul Molia, a 49-year-old man from Assam’s Sivasagar district, started his crusade against open defecation in his village. He faced many hurdles during his journey but succeeded to make people realise the importance of cleanliness and sanitation.

The quadragenarian worked relentlessly to make people aware of the necessity of building toilets since open defecation leads to several health issues. Molia, president of the 1 No Hollow Phukan Gram Panchayat under Lakwa Tehsil, located at 24 km east from the district headquarter, communicated the benefits of safe sanitation and encouraged the people of the region to build toilets at home.

His effort paid off when his Gram Panchayat was declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) in 2015. This is the first Gram Panchayat in Assam to gain the status of ODF.

In a video released by the Swachh Bharat Mission, Molia said, “I wanted to do something good for the society since my childhood. After I joined politics as a Panchayat representative, it has become easier to work to achieve my goal. I found an opportunity to make a difference.”

Talking about the challenges, Molia said that most of the people were initially not ready to accept his proposal to build toilets. “We faced many challenges as the people did not understand the need to make their surroundings ODF,” he added.

“Earlier, people emphasised on building a house but ignored to construct a toilet. Now, the scenario has changed. We visited people and explained the benefits of using toilets. All the residents today use toilets in my village,” the crusader against open defecation said.

It may be noted, as of September 2018, around 93 per cent of the rural population had access to proper sanitation, with the number of people defecating in the open reduced to 150 million, down from 550 million in 2014.

On October 2nd, 2014, Swachh Bharat Mission was launched throughout the country with an aim to achieve the vision of a ‘Clean and Open Defecation-Free India’ by October 2nd, 2019.

Photo credit: @swachhbharat