February 22, 2017 5:20:50 am
Residents of the colony in Rohini Sector 26, where two minor girls were raped when they went to relieve themselves in a vacant plot on Monday, said they have written several times over the last few months to the area councillor, the MLA and even the Chief Minister demanding clean toilets, but in vain.
Residents The Indian Express spoke to said they are aware that lack of working toilets could endanger women and children, but said they have no other option but to relieve themselves in the open.
Two teenagers have been apprehended in connection with the incident, police said.
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“Seventeen years ago, the population of the colony was 2,000, but it has reached 8,000 now… All toilets are dilapidated, nobody looks after them. The government talks of ‘nirmal’ villages, but we lack clean toilets… it’s a matter of shame for us…,” they wrote in a letter to area MLA Ved Prakash on March 19, 2015. Prakash could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Residents said all three toilet blocks built by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation are unusable, with no water, broken doors and commodes.
“Women and girls have to deal with threats from drug addicts and alcoholics every time they go out to relieve themselves,” said Savita Devi, a resident.
Sunil Pradhan, another resident, said, “We have written to the councillor, MLA, MP and chief minister letters for a sewer line in this area to no avail. This incident happened because there was no toilet in the area.”
Area councillor Shradhanand Sangwan blamed the lack of toilets on the north civic body’s fund shortage. “I have had the toilets repaired once but that was not enough. I have repeatedly asked for funds to construct more toilets but my appeals have not been considered,” he said.
Officials at the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board said the agency had built community toilets in the area but they were handed over to the civic administration for maintenance.
The resettlement colony is part of the Bawana assembly constituency, where at least 10,000 people stay. Only about 80 toilets work at the three toilet blocks, but even those are far too filthy to be used.
“The toilet blocks have become a den of drug addicts and criminals, and the caretakers keep changing,” said Surya Bhan Gupta, an auto driver who lives there.
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