Mumbai: To retain open-defecation free status, BMC goes on launch spree

Jul 01, 2017, 10:01 IST | Laxman Singh

Civic body inaugurated 83 community and temporary toilets before the centre’s revalidation check-up team comes to town in July

The toilet inaugurated yesterday at Anna Nagar in Dharavi. Pic/Bipin Kokate
The toilet inaugurated yesterday at Anna Nagar in Dharavi. Pic/Bipin Kokate

It would appear that losing that spot in the top 10 cities of the Swachh Bharat Index has really hurt the BMC’s pride, as in a bid to at least retain its open defecation free (ODF) status, the civic body on Friday went on a toilet inauguration spree. In all, 83 community as well as temporary toilets with 1,215 seats in and around prominent spots known for open defecation were inaugurated, planned on two days’ notice.

So what motivated the civic body to forge ahead with mass inauguration? An upcoming visit in the first week of July from the Ministry of Urban Development Department team that will revalidate the city’s ODF status under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Impromptu event
On June 28, the civic body issued a note to all its lower rank officials to inaugurate the 83 toilets in one go. A BMC official said, “To make sure that all the toilets are inaugurated on the same day, Additional Municipal Commissioner, Vijay Singhal issued a letter to all 24 ward officers and zonal deputy municipal commissioners to complete the task and report it to assistant municipal commissioner, Kiran Dighavkar, in-charge of Solid Waste Management (SWM).”

These toilets were inaugurated in areas like Anand Nagar in Dharavi, Nargis Dutt Nagar in Bandra, near Milan Subway, Goregaon, Hanuman Nagar in Kandivali, Ganpat Patil Nagar in Dahisar, Govandi, etc.

Dighavkar said, “We have provided enough toilets at all the known open defecation spots. The new addition of toilets will discourage citizens further from defecating in open. We are also creating awareness among people by means of street plays, posters, videos and one-on-one communication.”

Why the re-check?
Till December 2016, there were 2,939 toilet seats available at 118 identified open defecation spots. Now, of these newly-inaugurated toilets, 31 are community toilets, 10 are pay-and-use toilets and 42 are temporary toilets.

Another senior official from the civic body said, “After a city is certified as ODF, then every six months, a central government team visits the respective city to check the status and revalidate. Mumbai was granted its ODF status in January 2017.”

Sena fumes
But sources say that the Shiv Sena leaders were miffed at the BMC administration because they did not inform them about the upcoming inaugurations.

An official said, “Sena leaders were insisting the inauguration be postponed so that their local corporators could cut the ribbon.” Despite that, several Sena corporators managed to reach toilets in their area and do the inauguration.

Known spots in city where open defecation still exists


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