Former Finance Minister
For 35-year-old Surili Singh, who is diabetic, making rounds of popular shopping complexes in Delhi is a nightmare as there are hardly any public toilets for women. Talking about her ordeal, the resident of east Delhi's Mayur Vihar area says: "It's not just shopping complexes such as Lajpat Nagar, Janpath or Sarojini Nagar markets. The situation is similarly difficult for women throughout the Capital, and, in fact, across the country. Being a diabetes patient, it is sometimes impossible for me to control my bladder." "A few toilets that Delhi has are so poorly maintained and unhygienic that one does not feel like using them," she adds. Thousands of women in the Capital face this problem on a daily basis. "With no public toilets for women in market areas and along long stretches of road, we avoid liquid intake for hours, which can adversely affect our health, especially during summers," says Vanita Sharma, a 21-year-old student of Delhi University (DU). "This is so unfortunate that women in the national Capital are still struggling for basic and unavoidable necessities," says Kalpana Vishwanath of Jagori, a women's organisation. She adds: "Men can often be seen relieving themselves on roadsides in Delhi. For women travelling long distances, especially through rural Delhi, every step is a nightmare. More well-lit and well-maintained public toilets women is the need of the hour." According to a recent study conducted by the Centre for Advocacy and Research in Delhi, in the absence of a toilet at home, 33 per cent of the total households depend on community toilets, while eight per cent opt for open defecation. "Women are especially affected as several incidents of eve-teasing, and molestation have been reported at community toilets, raising concerns about the safety and security of young girls, women, and children," the study stated.
"We cannot use the community toilet after 7-8 pm because men take over after that," says Shanno, a resident of east Delhi's Kalyanpuri area. The issue of shortage of public toilets for women in the Capital was also highlighted in the Delhi High Court in 2016, following which the court had sought replies from the three Delhi Municipal Corporations. The public interest litigation submitted in the HC stated that "out of the existing public toilets across Delhi, only about 5 per cent were meant for women." The civic bodies, however, claimed that more and more public toilets for women were being constructed across the city. "We have recently built 14 digitalised toilet complexes in central Delhi, with the facility of sanitary pad dispensers," a senior New Delhi Municipal Council official said. Similarly Mukesh Yadav, spokesperson South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), said: "Now these problems will be a thing of the past as the SDMC has recently constructed 146 new toilet complexes and 200 more complexes are under construction."
Waste burning worst for public health, environment: NGT
Waste dumping sites produce harmful gases and when put on fire, it becomes the worst for public health and the environment, the National Green Tribunal has said. A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar made the observation while forming a committee headed by the secretary of Delhi government’s Urban Development department to inspect and file a report on indiscriminate burning of waste in dumping sites at Ghazipur and Bhalswa areas here. “Needless to note that these dumping sites, even without being put on fire, generate gases which are injurious to the environment and public health. Once they are put on fire, intentionally or otherwise, to reduce the quantum of dumped waste at site, certainly becomes worst, both for human health and environment,” the tribunal said. It noted that the emission of gases visibly were highly polluting and dangerous to human health. The bench asked the panel to submit a report by Wednesday after taking note of various photographs showing dumps of waste “which are already much beyond the prescribed limit and are on fire”. “We therefore constitute a Committee consisting of Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board, Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Chief Engineers of the respective Municipal Corporations,” it said. The tribunal said the report should be specific and comprehensive and the panel should collect air and gas samples which would be analysed in relation to all its possible constituents. The NGT also asked the panel to report why its earlier directions were not complied with. In its order, the tribunal said that “if any step had been taken in that direction, the corporation and NCT, Delhi would be at liberty to bring it to
the notice of the Committee.” “If no such submission is made before the Committee, it shall be presumed that no step whatsoever have been taken in furtherance to those judgments. If steps taken are brought to the notice of the Committee, it shall verify the same upon physical inspection of the site. Inspection should be completed continuously, if necessary tomorrow or day after,” it said. The NGT also appointed advocate Rahul Khurana as an observer who shall also be a member of the committee and listed the matter for further hearing on March 9.
Cong plans to make corpns self-reliant
Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) chief Ajay Maken, along with former Union minister P Chidambaram, released a "blueprint" for financial stability in the three municipal corporations on Monday. The draft report focuses on making the civic bodies financially self-reliant. The highlights of the report will be part of the party manifesto for the upcoming municipal polls. Stressing on the poor performance of the BJP-ruled civic bodies, Maken said that right now only 33% of Delhi's population was paying property tax and the party had failed to expand the tax net. "There is a need for major reforms in property tax collection. BJP has failed to expand the tax bracket. We aim to increase the property tax collection by at least three times. We can use GIS and other techniques to identify properties," said Maken. He also pointed out that how the municipalities continued to face employees' wrath over non-payment of salary and arrears and how employees were forced to take to the streets to press for their demands. "The employees are not happy with the way civic bodies are functioning. There have been so many strikes due to non-payment of their salaries for the past two years." He further said that New Delhi Municipal Council ( NDMC) earns around Rs 450 crore annually as rents. "NDMC looks after only a small portion of Delhi, yet it is financially stable and most of its expenditure is taken care of by internal revenue sources. The three municipalities, on the other hand, have done nothing with their properties," Maken claimed. Revenue generation from other sources like parking, advertisement and toll tax is equally abysmal, he said. "Most of the funds the three corporations have received under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan remained unspent. The expenditure in major sectors like sanitation, education and primary health has gone down and a major chunk of budgetary allocation remains unspent. In the past few years, the three corporations have not completed even a single development project in the capital," Maken alleged. Chidambaram stressed on the introduction of municipal bonds, which reportedly have made many civic bodies in smaller cities selfreliant. "Floating municipal bonds and credit rating for municipalities are important to bring transparency and accountability. The blueprint will be put in public domain for 10 days to seek public suggestions and a final draft will be prepared by Congress. We
appeal to the public to come forward and give their suggestions," said the former Union finance minister.
Delhi Congress Unveils Plan to End Mcds’ Financial Woes
Gearing up for municipal polls, Delhi Congress on Monday came out with a detailed roadmap to revive the financial condition of the three municipal corporations, claiming that Congress will make the “financially-ailing corporations self-reliant” within two years if voted to power. The draft plan was unveiled by former Finance Minister P Chidamabaram and Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, as the party is eyeing a comeback in the civic elections after severe drubbing in the last Delhi Assembly elections in which it drew a blank. The former Union Minister then quoted from the draft blueprint to buttress his point. “So, if we look at the arrears to sanitation workers, the EDMC has to give Rs 461.83 crore. Then the SDMC says, I am better with Rs 547.30 crore and then the NDMC decided to be the ‘best’ saying, the arrears stand at Rs 550 crore. It’s a race to hit the bottom first,” he alleged. The draft blueprint also envisages Rs 2,000 crore annual fund for development of infrastructure-deficit areas, particularly the unauthorised colonies. The former Finance Minister said unlike other big corporations, which generate more than 50 per cent of the revenue from property tax collection, the MCD is doing just about 40 per cent. “Both tax and non-tax revenue collection in Delhi is unfortunately, far below par. Non-tax revenue through areas like advertising and parking can definitely be boosted and the draft proposes that as well.” Delhi is a flourishing city, per capita income is the highest, Chandigarh is close, which means people have aspirations to live a life of dignity. And people will pay if they have faith that the money will be spent wisely,” he said. Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken said “Property tax collections in all the three municipal corporations are remained unchanged for long. According to 4th finance commission report only one third eligible properties comes under tax net. The collected Rs 1,600 crore as property tax is just 33 per cent of the potential”. “Delhi could be self- reliant if there is no corruption and pilferage of resources like revenue from toll tax, property tax, advertisement charges. The roadmap on fiscal management and resource generation to make civic agencies financially self-reliant,” Maken alleged. “We will keep aside Rs 2000 crore per year for development of infrastructure deficit areas particularly slums and unauthorized colonies.The party would create special funds for the development of unauthorized colonies, so as to ensure that development works in these colonies do not suffer due to shortage of funds,” he said. He further said that it is indeed very surprising that while the Bombay Municipal Corporation ( BMC) has a fixed deposit of Rs 51,000 crore, the Municipal Corporations of Delhi do not have funds to pay the salaries of the sanitation workers, and pensions of others. We have the experience, willingness and plans to make the MCDs self-reliant.
Former Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram
Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken
Swatanter Kumar, Chairperson, NGT
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia