Man defecating in Wadala East, off Sewri-Chembur Road on Saturday. PIC/SURESH KARKERA
IfâÂÂÂÂÂÂyou thought the city was open defecation free after receiving a Quality Council of India (QCI) certificate, then know that it's still a regular morning occurrence in the city. When the government makes the lofty claim, it doesn't mean there is nobody defecating in the open, but merely that the criteria set for fulfilling the certification process have been met.
A day after the QCI gave Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) an open defecation free certificate, mid-day caught several people defecating in the open.
Civic officials told us that a certificate has been provided on the basis of fulfilling certain criteria, and now it is up to the people to start using the infrastructure.
To achieve the status of an open defecation free city, the civic body has to provide a toilet every 500 metres, have a mechanism in place to penalise people defecating in the open and also spread awareness to urge people to use toilets.
Versova beach. PIC/NIMESH DAVE
Strengthening their argument, civic officials said that 1,318 toilet seats were constructed in the last six months, in comparison to 300 seats that have been around in the last decade.
Mukundrao Ambedkar Road next to Wadala RTO. PIC/ SURESH KARKERA
The civic body has also planned to carry out rigorous drives to penalise citizens who are seen openly defecating on the streets or near the seashore. It has the manpower of about 439 clean-up marshals who have the authority to fine Rs 100 if you are caught. In the past 15 days, over 600 people have been penalised.
The open defecation problem is not restricted to Mumbai alone. This was seen between Mumbra and Kalwa railway stations in Thane. PIC/SATEJ SHINDE
Ajoy Mehta, civic chief, said, "We have provided toilets and done all that is necessary, and now it is for the citizens to start using the facility. If there are complaints of no water or electricity, those will be addressed on priority but at least start using the facility. Also, the cleanliness issue will be solved once people also start paying attention to it. We will keep extending the infrastructure that is needed."
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday had tweeted about the certification congratulating the BMC. The city received its first validation in January, 2017, after which there was another assessment by QCI officials in the first week of July, as the first certificate was valid only for six months.
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