Clothes and a mosquito net hang on a line. Vessels lie scattered next to a stove. Chotu Rautia’s house in Sundargarh‘s Jalada village looks like any other–except it is a toilet that was allotted under the Swachh Bharat Yojana.Rautia’s repeated pleas for a house under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) bore no result, so the 50-year-old daily wage labourer has begun living in the 4ftx5ft toilet he got under another government scheme.

Rautia’s parents lost their first home to the Rourkela Steel Plant when it was set up in 1955.Five years ago, after his parents died, Rautia settled into a bachelor’s life in the rickety house his father had built at a resettlement colony in Lathikata block.

When he heard of PMAY, he applied with the help of his neighbours. “I ran from pillar to post to no effect,“ said Rautia, a tribal and a BPL card-holder.

In February , a couple of officials heard of his plight. They did not have the means to allot him a house under PMAY, but they could help him get a roof over his head -though that of a toilet. “I came to know of Rautia’s plight recently so I persuaded him to let me help him construct a toilet,“ said Japur Oram, sarpanch of the Jalga gram panchayat.

By March 2017, the toilet was ready . It had four sturdy walls, which is more than Rautia’s house had, and he moved in. When the sun beats down or when it begins to rain, Rautia walks into the 6ft-tall structure.It holds all he owns, except his cot, which is in the open. “When the weather is good, I sleep outdoors. Otherwise, I stay in the toilet,“ he said. With his toilet playing house, Rautia treats the outdoors as his toilet.

“My house is in ruins. So the toilet is where I live. I have stopped looking for a house under PMAY now,“ he said.