North corp clears ground inspection for open defecation-free tag
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation proved fifth time lucky as it finally cleared a “ground inspection” to be declared open defecation-free (ODF) on Monday.
The ‘open defecation-free’ (ODF) tag, under the central government’s Swacch Bharat Mission, is conferred by the union ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) after a third-party assessment.
This is done by the Quality Council of India (QCI), members of which visit areas under the jurisdiction of all Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), to check whether they have sufficient public toilets and no one is relieving themselves in the open creating insanitary conditions.
The north body’s sister concerns, the south municipality (SDMC), had bagged this certificate on July 4, 2018, while the east corporation (EDMC) got it more recently on March 25.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) went a step further bagging the ODF ++ certificate on March 6 this year for installing toilets with the “best international-standard facilities.”
The north corporation was failing to clear the ground inspection though it applied four times. “This was largely due to the presence of slums like Zakhira and Mayapuri Chowk, and extensive rail lines and railway stations in our areas like old Delhi, New Delhi and Sarai Rohilla, which the poor use as open lavatories,” an officer explained.
Its commissioner, Varsha Joshi, said on Monday, “I congratulate my officers and all the safai karmcharis on the ground who would be on the job since 4 or 5 am every morning. They would spread awareness on the ill-effects of open defecation on human health and environment among the poor, and direct them to the nearby community and public toilets.” This is no easy job, she said.
The corporation, which has a total population of 8.87 lakh, has 299 community toilets and 151 public toilets.
The QCI inspection report, which the north municipality made public on Monday, said the ground team visited 17 locations in north Delhi on December 28. They went to poor residential areas like Mamoorpur and Yogmaya; commercial areas like Clock Tower Subzi Mandi and Narela; schools in Mukundpur and Adarsh Nagar; and a ‘special location’ which was a pond in Nangal Thakran Village.
No “evidence of human faeces was found” and “North Delhi Municipal Corporation can be declared as Open Defecation Free,” the QCI report said. This report is renewed annually after repeat inspections.