The Swachh Bharat campaign has taken the entire country by storm, and different ways to achieve the open defecation-free (ODF) status are cropping up.
However, in South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) the construction of community toilets posed a problem. The slum clusters were densely populated while a few of them did not even have sewer lines.
As the adage goes, necessity is the mother of all invention. To overcome this problem, they have decided to place mobile toilet vans in the area.
100 mobile toilets will be installed across 104 wards to achieve the 100% open defecation-free (ODF) status.
An amount of Rs 12 crore has been allocated for the project, and the civic agency has invited tenders to place the toilets at earmarked sites.
The slum clusters under consideration are Okhla, Nizamuddin and Tuglakabad. Colonies like Sangam Vihar have no sewer lines.
Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) and the Railways are the agencies that are responsible for providing infrastructure facilities in the slum areas. This project would be a great help to them and supplement their efforts.
The Rule Book
According to Swachh Bharat Mission parameters, wards are declared ODF by the urban local body when 75% of it is provided with the public conveniences. Toilets should be provided within 500 metres of slum settlements to make them accessible to slum / jhuggi dwellers.
SDMC adopted various means to tackle the problem of open defecation because people who live close to the railway tracks still defecate in the open near the tracks. As per a circular issued by SDMC, the fine amount has been fixed at Rs 50.
To make the area ODF, two things are vital. The toilets must be accessible and the people must go through a behavioural realignment. In some places, people do not use the toilets even when available. The awareness should spread and the habit of using toilets needs to be ingrained in the minds of the villagers.
More Than Meets The Eye
In May 2017, SDMC declared 92 of 104 wards open defecation-free. But in the subsequent meetings, it was discovered that the people living in slums were still defecating in the open near the railway tracks.
SDMC wants to achieve the ODF status by October 2, 2017 – Gandhi Jayanti. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was started on the same day in the year 2014. It is believed that the mobile vans will stop people from defecating in the open.
It is said that when all doors close, create one yourself. SDMC created a proverbial door by choosing the antithetical #DarwazaBandh.