The Delhi government, which is on a toilet building spree to end open defecation in the Capital, is faced with an unexpected problem. As many as 40% of the 10,821 toilet seats it built since February 2015 remain unused.
In a series of inspections conducted across the city, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) found that many slum dwellers continue to defecate in the open despite the presence of state-of-the-art toilet complexes. Given the scenario, the board has decided to put construction of about 2,500 seats on hold and build toilet complexes based on the requirement of each slum cluster.
“Our calculation of creating 17,846 toilet seats by March 2017 was based on the Central norm of one seat for 30 people. While it looked perfect on paper, when we went on ground we found that a number of new seats added by us were lying unused. It is a fact that open defecation is widespread, but it is also true that slum dwellers have built toilets in or near their houses,” said a DUSIB official. Such toilets, however, lack proper sewage or water connectivity.
TOILET WOESWhat the city has and what it needs
- 3,29,870 Number of slums in Delhi
- 2,37,001 Slums in need of toilets
- 39,541Number of toilet seats required @ 1 seat for 30 people
- 10,821 Seats installed till Aug 31, 2016
- 5,426Seats to be installed till December 31, 2016
What ails them
- 40%toilet seats built remain unused
- 17,846 Number of seats proposed by March 2017. Out of this, construction of about 2,500 seats has been put on hold to avoid wastage
The official said that a toilet complex comprising 110 seats was approved in Peeragarhi Camp but it stands cancelled as most residents have toilets in their homes. Similarly, the Meera Bagh cluster was to get two 60-seater complexes but that plan too has been dropped. “The cluster had five toilet complexes which are not being used. We refurbished it and still people on the other end of the cluster do not use it. Finding land is also a problem,” another official said.
The plan to add 400 seats in Dilshad Garden was cancelled as DUSIB found that the cluster had an under-utilised 100-seater complex.
Another major issue being faced is that of vandalism. “Seemapuri was one of the first clusters to get an 80-seater toilet complex fitting with clothes hook, mirrors and ramps for the differently abled. But only 20 seats are being used and sanitary wares have been stolen or vandalised,” the official said.
DUSIB said that under-utilisation could be a result of the Re1 charged from users.
The board has roped in Shri Sukhdev College of Business Studies to find ways to optimise the usage of toilets in slum and JJ clusters.