Many residents and political party workers confirm that people in Turbhe have been forced to defecate in the open in Navi Mumbai.
Ranked on top as Maharashtra’s cleanest city, the satellite town of Navi Mumbai is still finding it difficult to uphold to its Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. With the lack of provision of water supply, electricity supply, and hygiene conditions of public toilets, people are bound to defecate in the open in Turbhe, Navi Mumbai.
The condition of the Bomsari village near Indira Nagar is the worst. There are lidless gutters, which are entirely choked, resulting to a constant stink.
According to a local resident, Shantabai Bharma, “The gutters have been open, completely choked, and overflowing into the streets for years. When we complain to the authorities, the cleaning is carried out, but that is also not done effectively. So the toilets are also perpetually stinking as waste is never flushed away thoroughly.”
The source of most of the waste collected in these gutters also comes from nearby factories. Though there were two tanks placed on the roofs of the toilets at Indira Nagar, they rarely get a running water.
Bharma added, “The residents have to carry their own water when they use the facility. Electricity supply is also interrupted several times a week. So, people avoid using the toilet at night.”
Another resident, Mallesh Pujari, elaborated on the condition saying, “The stagnant drain water has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and diseases,” said Pujari. “Because of such poor conditions in the public toilets, the men go in the open and often get fined for it.” The fine ranges between Rs 200 to Rs 800. He added that the women are forced to use these toilets out of necessity and compulsion.
Ismail Shaikh, the area’s Shiv Sena office-bearer, said, “When the toilets are in such a poor condition, people have no option but to defecate in the open. But when they do so, they end up being fined.”
Urban Maharashtra was announced free of open defecation by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday. The centre had set October 2, 2017, as the target to become ODF under the Swachh Bharat Mission in a function held at the National Sports Complex of India in Worli presided over by the President ram Nath Kovind.
However, the civic chief of Navi Mumbai, N Ramaswamy assured that the teams have been set up to kep a close eye on the open defecation condition. “They take actions everyday and submit report accordingly. I will look into the matter of drainage not being cleaned,” said Ramaswamy. “We have submitted plans to MIDC, which is the planning authority for such slums. For other slums also, the measures are being taken,” he added.