Areas with poor civic facilities are more susceptible to the proliferation of Covid-19 cases, a study conducted by NGO Praja Foundation has found.
The Foundation’s annual report on the status of civic issues in Mumbai, released Tuesday, states the top five administrative wards in Mumbai — L (Kurla), S (Bhandup), K west (Andheri), M-east (Govandi, Mankhurd) and R south (Kandivali) — with the maximum concentration of containment zones, reported the most complaints related to water shortage, drain overflowing, and unattended garbage.
According to the data compiled by the BMC’s centralised complaint registration system last year, 1,420 complaints on water shortage, of the total 3,084 recorded across the city, were registered from these five wards, the report states.
Of 4,853 citizens’ complaints last year these five wards reported 1,984, while 5,371 complaints regarding overflowing drains (of the total 14,351) were received from these wards, the report adds. “At the time of Covid-19 outbreak, water, sanitation and hygiene are the most important factors in preventing the spread of the virus. Data of complaints from last year shows that wards having maximum containment zones had a shortage of water and toilet related issues. In absence of water and proper sanitation facilities, maintaining hygiene is difficult,” Milind Mhaske, director of Praja Foundation, said.
According to the NGO, a survey conducted in 2015 by the BMC had highlighted grave inequality in facilities provided at public and community toilets. Findings of the survey also showed that only 28 per cent of toilets were connected to piped sewerage systems, while 78 per cent did not have a proper water connection. Fifty-eight per cent of these toilets were running without electricity that made them unusable at night, it states.
“In addition to water and sanitation, lack of proper solid waste management also contributes to poor hygiene and increases the incidence of diseases,” said Mhaske.
Questioning the civic body’s claim of 100 per cent door-to-door garbage collection, the Praja report says, citizens’ complaints showed otherwise. Of the total 17,116 SWM complaints recorded last year, 36 per cent were related to the garbage not being collected, the report states. Out of total SWM complaints, 41 per cent were received from nine wards including F-North (Matunga, Seweree), P-North (Malad), P-South (Goregaon), R-North (Dahisar), R-South (Kandivali), M-West (Chembur), N (Ghatkopar), L (Kurla) and S (Bhandup). These wards have more than 50 per cent slum population.
As per BMC’s centralised complaint registration system data, the Praja Foundation report has found of 1.28 civic complaints registered in 2019 at least 96 per cent were closed by BMC. In 2017 and 2018, when BMC received 92,329 and 1.16 lakh civic complaints, respectively, only 83 per cent were addressed. The complaints were on civic issues like roads, drainage, water supply, garbage collection, pest control, and nuisance due to vagrants. The time taken to resolve the issues also improved from 46 days in 2018 to 30 days in 2019, the report states.
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