Mahim slum residents defecate along tracks, railways urge BMC to install toilets

Published: May 20, 2019, 12:58 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

More than 500 families residing in the Azad Nagar slums in Mahim are forced to defecate along the tracks every day hence the Western Railway officials have requested BMC to install mobile toilets

Representational image
Representational image

For the past many months, where the state government has been claiming that Maharashtra is open defecation-free more than 500 families residing in the Azad Nagar slums in Mahim are forced to defecate along the tracks every day. The Western Railway and Protection Force organised a drive along the tracks where around 300 residents from Azad Nagar slums were urged to not litter the tracks. The Western Railway officials said that the track maintenance workers are forced to walk through excreta on this stretch between Mahim and Matunga, and constant exposure to such waste and water results in track corrosion.

The residents who attended the drive stated, “Every election, the candidates come to us for votes and promise to set up mobile toilets. Once the elections are over, nobody bothers. We have been living here for decades and there’s now a mutual understanding – women sit facing the
north while men face the south while answering nature’s call.”

According to Mumbai Mirror, Ravindra Bhaker, the Western Railway’s chief public relations officer said the railways has requested the BMC to install mobile toilets along the slum colony and deploy clean-up marshals, but corporator Harshala More said the slum plot comes under the railways’ jurisdiction, hence the BMC cannot install toilets there. Rosy Bhaskar (45)who said “Women here wake up before sunrise for the daily ablutions,” she said. Another resident, Priyadarshini Josef (23) employed as accountant in a Marine Lines firm, said, “Senior citizens, women, children, the physically challenged, the ailing… nobody has a choice here. Everyone is forced to defecate along the tracks."

Highlights about BMC

Even after successfully setting up organic waste convertors at four markets across the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is finding it difficult to get bidders for the second phase as part of which 18 such convertors would be set up to process the waste generated by 67 markets at a cost of Rs 37 crore. Each of the three times the civic body floated the tender for the second phase, only a single bidder came forward. Officials from the civic body's Markets Department said that as part of the pilot project, two waste convertors were set up last year, while two others were commissioned in March this year. "In the first phase, we set up the waste convertors in four markets, including Sainath Market in Malad, Meenatai Thackeray Flower Market in Dadar and KNP Market near Plaza Cinema. Two of them are currently being tested, the process for which got delayed due to electricity supply issues," said Sangeeta Hasnale, assistant municipal commissioner (markets).

The Brihamumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief Pravin Pardeshi wants to simultaneously clear the city's traffic menace and increase the civic administration's revenue, starting this monsoon. During a meeting regarding pre-monsoon preparedness, Pardeshi asked BMC's traffic department and the traffic police to coordinate and clear parking on roads, as well as come up with a plan to encourage motorists to park in public parking lots. Pardeshi has been keen on increasing BMC's revenue by implementing parking charges rigorously. Seeing how public parking lots (PPL) are not being regularly used by motorists, who prefer parking on roads instead, he wants the traffic police and BMC's traffic department to come up with a model to encourage those being fined for illegal parking to park at their nearest PPL instead.

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