Almost a year after the initiative of constructing toilets in households took off, the BMC has received around 7,000 applications till last month, of which only 62 have been constructed so far.
While less than 50 applications have been approved in 10 of the wards, there has been no progress in five of them. The initiative to construct household toilets was taken up under the Slum Sanitation Programme as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to eliminate open defecation in the city.
Last year, the civic body had declared an ambitious target of constructing 5,000 household toilets in the city by March 2017. The latest data on household toilets, however, indicate that more than 50 per cent of the applications received are yet to be approved. Of the 7,000 odd applications the BMC has received till the end of June, only 2,008 of them have been approved and 62 of them have been constructed.
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Officials from the solid waste management department blamed the delay of the verification process on lack of manpower and dearth of sewer lines. “The SWM staff have been given an additional charge of managing the work of overseeing the work and updating the data on the portal. However, we have now decided to hire agencies who will monitor the data and upload it to speed up the process and around six wards have already appointed an agency,” said a senior civic official from the SWM department.
Agreeing that the process was slow, the official pointed out that many of the applications had to be rejected due to lack of sewer lines around. “Many of the slums are on railway lands or those owned by the port trust and there is no sewer line there. Even if we grant the permission to construct the toilets, people will not be able to maintain the toilets if a new sewer line has to be constructed to join the existing network. We thus need to revise our target and focus on community toilets which will be more feasible for the slums,” said the official.
Meanwhile, a similar trend can be seen in the construction of public toilets as well. According to data compiled by the SWM department, the target for community toilets (CT) and pay-and-use toilets (PT) till March 2017 was 2,501 and 800 respectively.
However, the BMC has only managed to complete construction of 155 CT seats and 151 for PT seats so far. Even as work orders have been issued for construction of 1,116 CT seats and 685 PT seats, there has been no work done in populated wards like H-east, H-west, K-east, K-west and L ward among others.