Bollywood actor Salman Khan met Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta on Saturday to promote the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s efforts to set up toilets at 118 locations in the city aiming to make Mumbai free of open defecation. While the civic body has set up community toilets as well as mobile toilets at various locations across the city, the BMC is planning to set up more toilets in another 21 locations by the end of the month.
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To dissuade people from defecating in public places, the BMC has roped in Khan as brand ambassador for the campaign.
Khan stated that the mindset of people has to change to make the city cleaner. “I have often witnessed people defecating in the open and have always wanted to do something about it. I heard about the BMC’s efforts to rid the city of open defecation and thus thought of making a contribution,” he said. Khan donated five mobile toilets to the BMC on Saturday.
Promising proper maintenance, Mehta stated that the BMC will ensure that all the toilets will have a steady supply of water and electricity. “If pipelines are not available then water tanks will be set up near the mobile toilets for 24/7 water supply. We will also make sure that every toilet has proper lighting and make it safe for women,” he said.
The 21 spots where mobile toilets will be set up are located in wards with a large slum population including K West, P North, S, L, M West as well as A ward. While some toilets are community toilets connected with sewer lines, bio-toilets and mobile toilets with a septic tank are being set up at places lacking infrastructural support. Civic officials stated that they will first try to motivate people to use the toilets and if they don’t comply, the BMC will introduce fines.
Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, Solid Waste Management department, stated that the BMC is involving Salman Khan to spread awareness about using toilets. “It has become a habit for people to defecate in the open. Through our awareness programmes, we will try to make open defecation a social taboo to convince people to use toilets instead,” he said. He added that short videos with public messages by Salman Khan will be recorded, which will be played in movie theatres, and uploaded on YouTube and other social media sites.