Out of 7,000 targets of building toilets, BMC have built only 1,600, reveals RTI query

Updated: Nov 21, 2017, 17:54 IST | Laxman Singh

The civic body, which had set a target of 7,000 indoor toilets in the city by March 31 this year, has not even reached half-way to the target

The civic body, which had set a target of 7,000 indoor toilets in the city by March 31 this year, has not even reached half-way to the target. A response to a Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed that only 9 percent – 1,624 – of the total number of household toilets had been built.

BMC says not all slums have sewerage lines, making permissions to build toilets difficult

In the period April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, the BMC had received 18,083 applications for the construction of household toilets. The report states that G/south (Worli, Mahalaxmi) had constructed the maximum – 258 – toilets, followed by 218 in T (Mulund) and 202 in N ward (Ghatkopar). There was not a single toilet constructed in B ward (Princess Dock, Dongri), C ward (Bhuleshwar, Kalbadevi) and E ward (Byculla).

Also Read: BMC To Spend Rs 376 Crore To Build Multi-Storey Toilet Blocks

In a bid to fill the gap between demand and supply of toilets in the city, especially in slums and chawls, last year, the civic body had set a target of 7,000 household toilets. The plan was initiated under PM Narendra Modi's Swacch Bharat Abhiyan to discourage people from open defecation. The BMC has also received R 5.06 crore in funds from the Centre and state for the project. According to the RTI data, till date, the civic body has approved 10,484 applications for allowing construction of toilets.

Also Read: Mid-Day Impact: BMC Starts Building Toilets For Ramgadh Residents In Mulund West

The data was accessed by activist Shakeel Shaikh who runs an NGO, Adhikar Foundation. Speaking to mid-day, Shaikh said, "The slow pace of permissions for household toilets is affecting the city’s open-defecation-free achievement. Mumbai has more than 55 percent slums, where the lack of toilets is a big concern. Most citizens don’t want to pay to use a toilet, so they choose to defecate in the open. If the BMC speeded up construction of household toilets, the problem of open defecation will be solved to a large extent."

He said, "Compared to other cities in Maharashtra, Mumbai is way behind in the construction of household toilets. Also, there are very few applications received by the civic body, which shows lack of awareness among people. For example, in Thane, 40,562 applications were received, of which 23,580 household toilets have been constructed."

Meanwhile, BMC officials said the delay was mainly because of lack of sewerage lines. An official said, "Most of the slums do not have a sewerage network, so even if we give them permission for constructing a toilet, there is no way to connect it to a sewerage line. This is causing problems in approving applications."

Assistant Municipal Commissioner, Kiran Dighavkar, said, "We are allowing toilets wherever possible but applications need to be thoroughly studied before giving permissions owing to several technical aspects. The foremost issue is space constraints in slums. Other than this, most of the slums are in hilly areas where the sewage pipe network is not strong. Also, the community toilet culture is always preferred in most slums," he said.

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