Nearly 40% of slum clusters in the national capital do not have any toilet facility, forcing many of the dwellers to defecate in the open.
According to figures provided by the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), which provides toilet facilities in slum clusters, 272 of the 690 clusters do not have community toilet complexes.
In slums that have these complexes, nearly 30% are in a bad shape, making it difficult for the residents to use them.
The situation has only worsened as of the total requirement of 70,000 toilet seats, DUSIB has managed to provide only 13,000 so far.
According to senior Delhi government officials, one of the major reasons behind the lack of toilet complexes is that most of the slum clusters are not connected to the sewerage system making it difficult to even put up a temporary mobile toilet facility there.
“Construction is not a problem but maintaining the toilet complex is a challenge. Some of the clusters are not even connected to a sewerage system. In case mobile toilet vans are provided, maintaining them becomes a huge problem. We need to involve private players to ensure they are better managed,” said a senior Delhi government official.
The 690 JJ clusters have come up on land owned by various state and central government agencies, where DUSIB, civic bodies, and other government agencies have provided toilet facilities.
However, the board is confident that in the next six months, it will be able to cover the 272 slum clusters. “We have formulated a ‘slum sanitation strategy’ to provide toilet facilities to slum dwellers across the city. Our priority would be clusters that don’t have any such facility. We will also upgrade the rest of the toilet complexes too,” said Amar Nath, chief executive officer of DUSIB.
The Delhi government had also launched a week-long programme to sensitise people about cleanliness as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The programme will be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. One of the pet projects of the Narendra Modi government, Swachh Bharat aims at providing every family with a toilet by 2019.