The North and South Delhi corporations have approved less than 10% of the total requests received for individual household toilets (IHHTs) since the inception of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014, as per figures provided by the civic bodies. While the South body approved 378 of over 5,000 requests it received, North gave its nod to 400 of 10,000 requests. The East corporation, meanwhile, received only 60 requests and approved 17 toilets.
Officials from the three MCDs said the main reason why so many requests were rejected is because several households applied for toilets despite already having one. South corporation mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat said, “One can apply for a toilet online on the Swachh Bharat portal. Requests are then physically verified by sanitation inspectors. They found that people wanted toilets on the first floor when they already had one on the ground floor.”
A North corporation official said, “Another reason for rejection is absence of sewer lines or because the houses are built on encroached land.” East corporation commissioner Ranbir Singh said, “The main reason why the East got so few requests is because most households without toilets are so small that there is no space to construct one. Secondly, application process is online, so many poor people might not have been able to apply. We ran several awareness programmes, and more campaigns will be launched to bring people under the ambit of the scheme.”
Another EDMC official said the fact that Aadhaar was mandatory for the scheme may have deterred some from applying. A senior North corporation official added, “Many people may not have applied as they feel that the Rs 8,000-fund for building the toilet isn’t enough — especially in houses without sewer lines. Also, constructing a septic tank costs above Rs 20,000.”
As per the Economic Survey of Delhi (2016-17), 3.5 lakh households (10.5% of all households) do not have toilets. The survey also shows that 22% slums do not have latrines. The issue was also flagged in the recent CAG report, which had pointed out the inability of implementing agencies to target individual households for construction of toilets, and identify sites and blocks for construction of community and public toilets. The report also said toilet requirements in unauthorised colonies had been ignored.