PMC starts cleaning community toilets in Pune slum areas four times a day to prevent Covid-19 spread
Pune municipal commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad issued a circular on Wednesday with instructions to clean public toilets at least four times in a day, which earlier used to be cleaned only once a dayUpdated: Apr 30, 2020, 16:25 IST
After the Centre flagged that use of community toilets in slums as one of the factors leading to the spike in Covid-19 cases in the state during a press conference on April 24, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has undertaken a drive to clean these places four times a day.
Of the total Covid-19 positive cases reported from Pune, over 60 per cent have been recorded from slums, as indicated in the statistics shared by the municipal administration. Last week during its visit to Maharashtra, the central government’s team had visited these sums in Mumbai and Pune. In his briefing, joint secretary with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Punya Srivastava, said, “The team found that the use of community toilets leaves residents to defy the lockdown and step out of their homes.” The Centre had also advised to install portable toilets to reduce the use of community toilets in slum areas.
Taking cognisance, Pune municipal commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad issued a circular on Wednesday with instructions to clean public toilets at least four times in a day, which earlier used to be cleaned only once a day.
According to former deputy mayor and a practising doctor Siddharth Dhende, public toilets in Pune’s slums have been a real hotspot for spreading the coronavirus. “Almost 42 per cent of the city’s population is living in slums where many residents do not have toilets in their homes and need to relay on public toilets. The PMC has to seriously consider toilets as a source of spread of the infection in order to improve the situation,” said Dhende.
Assistant medical officer Vaishali Jadhav who is incharge for contact tracing and conducting the door-to-door survey in the city, said, “It is found that many people in slum areas are using common toilets. Our medical teams suspect that it is one of the reasons for the spread of the virus. Hence, the municipal administration has now started cleaning the public toilets four times a day.”
Avinash Bagwe, who represents Bhavani peth area where there are slums and a large number of Covid-19 patients (263 cases till April 28), said, “It is true that the public toilets is a place where residents gather. Police can’t take action there as residents are standing in queue to use the toilets.”
Dhole Patil ward office’s ward officer Dayanand Sonkamble said, “With the number of patients increasing, we have started cleaning the public toilets four times a day and even spray disinfectants around the public toilet.”