PCMC chief has earmarked Rs 3 crore to make town open-defecation free
The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has decided to give what officials describe a fitting reply to those who are preventing the poor,especially those living in slums,from using public toilet facilities. In his budget draft presented to the standing committee Thursday,Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi said he has earmarked Rs 3 crore for setting up new public toilets next
Through this initiative,we are trying to make Pimpri-Chinchwad open-defecation free, he said.
In his budget speech Thursday,Pardeshi said his administration had decided to upgrade the public toilet facility after The Indian Express highlighted the plight of slum residents in July last year. It was brought to my notice by this paper that as many as 20 doors of womens public toilets were stolen in Kasarwadi area. This was apparently done by chawl owners in a bid to evict long-time long residents, Pardeshi said.
As many as 500 women had to use the public toilets which had no door. Officials had delayed fixing the doors for two weeks. When The Indian Express had brought to his notice,Pardeshi ensured the doors were fixed in two days.
It has also provided security at the toilet public block. One person was arrested in the case who,incidentally,turned out to be a PCMC employee. He has denied involvement and had alleged politics behind the move.
PCMC health officer R B Chavan said the civic chief has made a provision for setting up of pay-and-use public toilets along Dapodi-Nigdi highway,Aundh-Ravet Road and Telco Road for the floating population. The public toilets will be in equal numbers both for men and women, he said. Civic activists,has however,expressed doubts on this concept,which was introduced by Pravinsinh Pardeshi,who was the municipal commissioner in 1997.
The plan was later withdrawn after certain political leaders objected to it, he said,adding the PCMC plans to charge a nominal fee of Rs 5 or Rs 10 per month.
On the three roads,Chavan said there will be 400 public toilet seats constructed. In residential areas,2,731 public toilet seats will be constructed,while in slum area,2,014 public toilet seats will be set up.
In areas where there is no space for constructing public toilets,we will purchase 20 mobile public toilet blocks and ensure availability in these areas, Pardeshi said.
Officials said steps to upgrade sanitation facility of PCMC will continue despite certain impediments. The Kasarwadi case only strengthened PCMCs resolve to upgrade the public toilet facility, officials added.
Pimpris ward centres promise to be direct complaint redressal forum
In his maiden budget presented Thursday,Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi introduced a novel concept of making available ward centres in each electoral ward of the industrial belt. The concept,stated to be first of its kind on the civic terrain of the state,is aimed at ensuring daily interface between corporators,citizens and officials so that grievances relating to civic issues are taken up.
Pardeshi said the ward centres to be set up in each of the 64 electoral wards,will bring citizens,corporators and officials face to face.
The citizens will get an opportunity to present their grievances before corporators rather than coming to the head office, he said,adding that the ward centres will be part of our tourism activity where we also hope to provide recreational facilities.
Officials said the ward centres will be a zone for redressal of citizens grievances.
Since the head office or the divisional ward offices are away from the homes of citizens,they generally avoid taking trouble of going all the way to these places as it involves time,money and energy. If ward centres are available near their residences,citizens will not hesitate to approach them as they will be located within walking distance. They will be made to present their grievances which will at least be heard quickly, officials said.
PCMC administration said ward centres will be like mini PCMC headquarters where officials from various departments are expected to make their presence felt.
Welcoming this concept,Manav Kamble of Nagri Suraksha Samiti said,
If the concept becomes a reality,it will be in the larger interest of citizens who generally loathe making complaints directly since it involves a lot of effort in commuting to the place where complaints are to be registered. The civic chief said four ward centres will be set up in four divisional wards and they will then be replicated in other parts of the town.
Another activist Shridhar Chalkha of Akurdi said the PCMC will have to guard against the misuse of such place by corporators. If the corporators are going to be present at such places,they will project it as if they are resolving the grievances of citizens. It will be better if the civic chief decides to cut the role of corporators and instead make the ward centres a place for direct interaction of citizens and officials, he said.
Pardeshi has also promised to take up the issue of setting up Citizens Facilitation Centres in all 64 electoral wards.
For this to materialise,Pardeshi will have to make necessary documents available to citizens near their residences.
We are also trying to tie-up with district collectorate so that we can issue documents generally issued by collectorate, he added.