BMC: Handle open defecation cases with care

Updated: Dec 04, 2016, 12:17 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar

Civic body asks officials not to shame offenders, but instead, conduct more awareness programmes

With the civic elections scheduled for early next year, the BMC appears to be exercising extra caution while dealing with certain sensitive cases. Aware that taking harsh action against people caught defecating in the open may backfire, the BMC has asked its staff to handle such cases with tact.

In a review meeting on Saturday, BMC chief Ajoy Mehta instructed his officials to explain to offenders the problems of defecating in the open, instead of “humiliating” them in public. Last year, the civic body drew a lot of flak after a ward officer from a western suburb had begun to shame offenders publicly.

“The BMC commissioner, during the meeting, urged civic officials to to create awareness among citizens through hoardings, banners and street plays, explaining the importance of proper sanitation and the health hazards of open defecation,” said a release issued by the civic body. The meeting also witnessed the BMC reiterating its agenda of freeing Mumbai from open defecation by the end of 2016. “There are 24 administrative wards in Mumbai, and only nine of them are said to be free of open defecation. All efforts will be taken to ensure that there are no cases of open defecation in the remaining 15 wards,” the release added.

According to a survey conducted by the BMC, there are 118 spots in Mumbai where open defecation cases are reported. With more awareness drives being conducted and mobile toilets provided, the situation has improved. A civic official present at the meeting admitted that the ratio of toilets and the slum population in the city is nowhere close to guidelines. “Over 60 per cent of the city’s population lives in slums. Based on these statistics, approximately 1.30 lakh toilets are required,” the official said.

Some areas where open defecation has been addressed (as per BMC):
B ward: P D’ Mello Road, Abdul Rehman Street 
C ward: Ibrahim Rahimtulla Marg, Babasaheb Jaykar Marg, Andandilal Poddar Marg, Lokmanya Tilak Marg.
D ward: Girgaon Chowpatty, Arabian Sea Coastal line
G-South: Ravindra Natyamandir, Shivaji Park, Dadar Railway Station

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