WITH M-East ward lacking in a basic amenity like toilet and people resorting to open defecation, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) conducted a survey recently and found that 54 toilets in the area are in a “very dilapidated to no-use conditions”.
Accordingly, the civic body along with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), which has been working on transforming this ward, has now invited companies and other stakeholders Friday to fix the situation through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
The M-East ward comprises Vashi Naka, Govandi, Baiganwadi, Shivaji Nagar, Mankhurd and Trombay Cheeta Camp.
“Toilets are one of the many important amenities that are lacking in slums. The lack of toilets and their implication on health, women’s safety, access to education has been adequately written about. The Swachh Bharat mission aims, among other things, complete elimination of open defecation, constructing public and community toilets, maintenance of toilets and municipal solid waste management.”
“It seeks the participation of CSRs towards making this mission a success. The Maharashtra state government has taken a policy decision to provide sanitation facility to slums irrespective of their legal status,” says the letter from BMC and TISS, inviting representatives from companies and organisations to a workshop on total sanitation of M-East ward.
The half-day workshop on Friday will focus on existing situation analysis and work towards a plan of action for jointly achieving the “mission of toilets for all”. “We will explore various options for building toilets and the proposed solutions,” said TISS Prof Amita Bhide.
According to a BMC official, while there are 486 toilets in M-East ward, their study showed that 34 were in a very dilapidated condition and another 20 were not in a condition to be used at all.
What triggered the study was an incident, where a woman, who had gone to use a toilet, died after falling into a septic tank at a chawl in Mankhurd, when the floor of the toilet collapsed.
“We felt that instead of constructing new toilets as space is a constraint in Mumbai, we should reconstruct and renovate toilets at these 54 locations, which are currently not in a working condition. While companies have CSR activities, they often feel that taking permission from the civic body is a tedious process.
Hence, we have simplified the process by making it a one-window policy. According to the new policy, work-order will be issued in maximum eight days and we will give the companies certificate of completion once the construction gets over. We will ensure quick response and remove misconceptions. The workshop is to apprise companies and organisations of what we intend to do and seek their partnership for the same,” said the civic body official.
The letter further says that an earlier study of M-East ward by TISS reveals toilets to be a major concern in the areas, with the situation in Mankhurd particularly as seven per cent of the population here resorted to open defecation.
It further said that breaking it down to locations within the area, pockets such as Jai Ambe Nagar in Govandi have reported almost 98 per cent open defecation.
“A detailed study of Mankhurd has given us insights, which are crucial to addressing the issue of toilets and ending open defecation. The study reveals that not only are public toilets inadequate, they are also poorly distributed. The toilets, on account of design and costs, remain inaccessible to certain sections of the population. They often lack water connections and outlets, making them unusable in the long run,” the letter adds.