In Focus

#PollWatch: Ambedkar Nagar's Residents Are Yet Deprived Of 'Swachh' Toilets

A Draft Poll Watch Report

In South Mumbai's Ambedkar Nagar, a slum adjoining the plush Cuffe Parade, residents often 'have to' break COVID norms to gather at a public toilet or defecate in the open. Shockingly, their respective lane toilets, each toilet shared by ten families on an average, are either choked, overflowing, unusable or simply defunct and left locked for long periods.

An exposé by The Draft of the state of toilets and interactions with the affected residents of a zone near Hanuman Temple at South Mumbai's Ambedkar Nagar reveal the rot. 

Ambedkar Nagar's Residents Are Yet Deprived Of 'Swachh' Toilets

This, while nearby walls are 'painted' in ongoing 'beautification' campaigns hiding the agony of a slum, a stone's throw away. It seems, and sadly, an attempt to 'whitewash' the real issue and present the perfect 'picture' to gloss over a filthy reality. 

The beautifully-painted walls adjoining the road stand less than 100 metres away from the ugly mess at Ambedkar Nagar. Each time, a resident wants to use a lane toilet, the person has to first physically unclog the overflowing toilet with a stick, wait for at least 30 minutes for it to get cleared, before using it.

In November 2021, the Ministry of Jal Shakti said 56,97,228 individual household latrines were constructed under Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen during 2020-21 and 2021-22. Declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) in 2017, Mumbai has a lot to do to bridge the gap between demand for public toilets and availability. BMC must construct more than a lakh toilets to meet the existing deficit.

Ambedkar Nagar's residents have been deprived of a basic Right To Sanitation that runs pivotal to the Right to Health and the Right To Life, guaranteed by the Constitution of India.

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