Open-defecation free tag for north Delhi civic body rejected again
For the fourth time, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has failed to get the “open-defecation free (ODF)” tag from the central government.
The ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) confers the tag on urban local bodies (ULBs) that have eliminated open defecation in their jurisdiction.
A team of experts from the Quality Council of India (QCI) -- which conducts third-party inspection on behalf of MoHUA -- found evidence of human faeces in Keshavpuram Zone of the corporation. The survey was conducted on July 11 and 12. “Citizens have also confirmed that they defecate in the open,” a letter by QCI to the north body, refusing them the certificate, said.
North body commissioner Varsha Joshi on Wednesday said, “The team inspected 17 sites and found all of them free of open defecation. It was while returning that they saw something and then expressed their inability to award us the ODF certificate this time. We will reapply and work hard for this again.”
Senior officials, who did not wish to be named, said spots inspected included slums like Zakhira and Mayapuri Chowk; residential areas like Indira Camp and Amar Jyoti Colony; commercial areas like Shastri Market in Azadpuri; schools in Badli and Malka Ganj, besides a ‘special location’ Bhalswa Lake. “Afterwards, they asked some locals in the GP Block slums of Pitampura where they defecate, and they pointed to a piece of land in Park Chowk. We believe that the land doesn’t even belong to us, but another government agency, but the blame landed on us,” the official said.
Another official said, “In that same area, we have installed five pre-fabricated fixed toilets, but the locals still prefer to go out in the open. Getting the ODF certificate has been very difficult for us because the biggest railway stations and rail lines cross through our territory.”