BMC sent the mobile loos late on Friday, but they are still locked
BMC sent the mobile loos late on Friday, but they are still locked

Powai residents are still turning up their noses at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) apathy. On July 15, mid-day had reported on resident Pawan Pal's quest — and the death threats he encountered — to get public toilets in Gautam Nagar. While the civic body promptly sent mobile toilets to the area, residents are forced to defecate in the open because the loos are locked.

On July 15, mid-day had reported ('Death threats over loos') how residents of Gautam Nagar and Jay Bhim Nagar in Powai are forced to defecate in the open because the area lacks public toilets. While there is a public loo in Jay Bhim Nagar, it is extremely filthy and in need of repair.

Also read: Powai resident get death threats by Shiv Sena leaders for complaining about poor sanitation

The toilet in Gautam Nagar was demolished last year and still hasn't been rebuilt. Pal, 26, had raised the issue with the local BMC office and Shiv Sena corporator Chandravati More but had ended up receiving death threats from local Sena workers.

Later, the workers were arrested for threatening Pal and the BMC sent mobile toilets to the area. mid-day reported that on July 16 ('Cops arrest three Sainiks for threatening Powai's toilet fighter').

Lock, stock and barrel
Speaking to mid-day, Pal said, "On Friday, BMC had sent two mobile toilets to meet the demands of residents. However, it has been more than four days and they are all still locked. I spoke to an official from S ward about the problem, but I wasn't given any concrete reason behind it and just told that they would unlock the containers today [Wednesday]." At the time of going to press, BMC still hadn't opened the loos.

Also read: Mumbai police arrest 3 Sainiks for threatening Powai's toilet fighter

Pal added, "What is the use of these toilets if no citizen can utilise them? They will be forced to continue to defecate in the open. The lack of toilets in the area is clearly violating the guidelines of the Swacch Bharat mission, which mentions that adequate and clean public toilets must be provided."

Despite repeated attempts, Santosh Dhonde, assistant municipal commissioner of S ward (Bhandup), remained unavailable for comment.

Recently, an agency affiliated with the Union government had re-certified Mumbai as an Open Defecation-Free (ODF) city. The BMC had declared the city ODF last year. To achieve the ODF status, BMC must provide toilets every 500 metres and conduct awareness campaigns as well.

500m Radius in which BMC has to have at least one public toilet to keep its ODF status