While the government deserves a lot of credit for aspiring to build
seventy thousand  toilets in households in Goa by October of this
year, and will probably reach the target, we need to look beyond the
magic number and also observe carefully how the workers of shacks on
the beaches exhibit their bare backsides not too far from 5-star
hotels.

The Chief Minister was shocked to hear about the lack of toilets in
seventy thousand houses. He will be even more shocked to see the early
morning scenario on some of the beaches in Goa. Believe me, it is not
a pretty sight.

Making Goa open defecation free (ODF) is a laudable goal and the
households who will benefit from the largesse of the government need
to be most grateful to it. What is of serious concern are the shacks
on the beaches in Goa which do not have toilet facilities for the
workers who number in hundreds. These shack employees are a threat to
the health of the tourists even though the shacks have received a
green signal from the Food and Drug Department as well as Health.

As some hotels on the beaches are now catering to the wedding
business, the early morning baring of backsides on the beaches and
bordering land are even more numerous because of the extended
business. They have joined the shack employees in using the beaches
and fields close to the beaches, and the beaches have become one big,
open air toilet in the morning. If your eyes let you down, don't
worry, your nose certainly won't! As having to go to the toilet is a
basic human function (even if there are no toilets!) these shack and
hotel employees need to be protected, and their dignity not taken
away. It is, of course, not as bad as the no-budget tourist who peed
through the window of a bus. I hope his aim was accurate otherwise his
friendly fire might have caused a problem to the other passengers on
the bus.

No toilets and no health showers are a grave threat to the people who
eat the food in the restaurants on the beaches and, they are often
tourists from luxury hotels. I can only hope the cooks wash their
hands thoroughly for the sake of the tourists if they touch the food
with their bare hands. As for the Health Lab on wheels, as far as I
know, it cannot navigate on our sandy beaches and so the government
has to make other arrangements to monitor hygiene regularly, and buy
at least a dozen more vans or the one and only van is going to be
nothing more than a show window.

On any given day on some beaches, it is possible to see dozens of
plastic bottles of water which are used to clean the backsides of the
workers after they have finished what they came to do on the beaches.
They prefer to use plastic bottles which at one point in time had
mineral water in them. No beer bottles or whisky bottles however
expensive for them which shows, I believe, their wonderful sense of
humor.

I hope the government also has a sense of humor and gets the joke.
Otherwise, the final laugh might well be on the 5-star tourists who
visit beach shacks in Goa.

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