While civic bodies across India are rallying support for defecation-free streets as part of PM Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has decided to start amongst its own so that others can take a leaf out of its book. In a rare drive, TMC chief Sanjeev Jaiswal has ordered regular cleaning of the toilets used by its 7,000-odd Class IV employees, so that they don't take to defecating in the open.
Manish Joshi, deputy municipal commissioner of TMC (in black T-shirt), at the toilet clean-up drive inKharton Road, Thane East
The TMC launched the drive on October 2 at the slum near Kharton Road in Thane East. "Since most of the staff use common toilets, we decided to rope in an NGO to help us clean the toilet," said an official from the TMC.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Sameer Unale, Deputy Municipal Commissioner Manish Joshi and Assistant Municipal Commissioner Maruti Gaikwad, who visited the site, took the lead by the cleaning the toilets themselves. "When we saw the common toilets used by our employees, we saw how poorly maintained they were. Instead, of just paying a courtesy visit, we decided to clean the toilets. Our staff tried to dissuade us, but we completed the task," said Joshi.
Joshi seen cleaning a toilet
The TMC, which recently declared Thane as 'open defecation-free', has launched a series of initiatives to ensure that the city remains clean. "Most of the toilet cleaning work is outsourced, so we don't know what problems our employees face. But, being on field helped us understand the conditions they live in," said Joshi.
Joshi said that the civic body has reached out to the organisation tasked with maintaining the toilets, to maintain them on a regular basis. "We will also be arranging for water drums, which will be placed at these toilets, so that there is 24/7 water supply."
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