Pan­vel to be open defe­ca­tion free soon 7 KDMC staffers sus­pended for drink­ing on duty

BY AU­GUST 15 696 pri­vate toi­lets have been built, Rs1.4-crore grants dis­trib­uted to ben­e­fi­cia­ries un­der the scheme

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Tas­neem Kausar ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com Pad­mja Sinha pad­mja.sinha@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Pan­vel is all set to be 100% open defe­ca­tion free city, said Pan­vel Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil (PMC) of­fi­cials.

With the rapidly ris­ing pop­u­la­tion, the num­ber of slums in Pan­vel too is on the rise. This has led to hy­gienic con­di­tions all over.

A re­cent sur­vey by PMC has re­vealed that the city that is fast de­vel­op­ing into a mod­ern city, has 4,300 res­i­dents who do not have toi­lets. Around 2,000 cit­i­zens are re­ported to be an­swer­ing na­ture’s call in the open.

The PMC then be­gan mak­ing ef­forts to make the city 100% open defe­ca­tion free and is soon ex­pected to achieve the goal. PMC of­fi­cials said the plan is to achieve the goal by Au­gust 15 this year.

The Swachh Bharat Ab­hiyan is be­ing im­ple­mented with re­newed vigour in the city. So far, 696 pri­vate toi­lets have been con­structed for the cit­i­zens. Rs1.4-crore grants have been dis­trib­uted to the ben­e­fi­cia­ries un­der the scheme.

Tow­ers are tak­ing over the chawls in the A grade mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil area. With mega and in­ter­na­tional projects com­ing up in the re­gion, the num­ber of im­mi­grants to the city is on the rise. Sev­eral daily wage work­ers who are flock­ing here do not have re­sources to pur­chase their homes or even stay in rented houses.

They end up con­struct­ing shanties wher­ever they get place.

In Pan­vel city, Laxmi Colony, Nav­nath Na­gar, Valmiki Na­gar, Mald­hakka and Lokhandi­pada have large slum ar­eas. While the PMC has pro­vided in these ar­eas, the drainage and toi­let fa­cil­i­ties are in­ad­e­quate. Sev­eral shanties do not have toi­lets.

The PMC de­cided to re­solve the is­sue. Along with the cen­tral govern­ment’s funds, the PMC gave Rs20,000 to in­di­vid­u­als for con­struc­tion of pri­vate toi­lets.

This has re­sulted in a large num­ber of toi­lets be­ing con­structed in slum ar­eas. Drainage lines too have been laid here. Grants have been de­posited in the ac­counts of 696 ben­e­fi­cia­ries so far.

PMC pres­i­dent Charusheela Gharat said, “The PMC has con­structed the largest num­ber of toi­lets in the state un­der Swachh Bharat Ab­hiyan scheme. The use of the toi­lets too has be­gun and the num­ber of those sit­ting in the open is now neg­li­gi­ble.”

She added, “The scheme has been ef­fec­tively im­ple­mented in the city and its ef­fect is show­ing.”

Seven of­fi­cials from wa­ter sup­ply depart­ment of Kalyan-Dom­bivli Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion of­fi­cials were found drink­ing while they were on duty on Fri­day.

Res­i­dents had recorded their drink­ing and eat­ing while they had come to the hous­ing so­ci­ety to solve their wa­ter prob­lem. The video clip and pho­to­graphs went vi­ral on the so­cial me­dia and also reached their su­pe­ri­ors.

They have been sus­pended un­der Ma­ha­rash­tra Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion Act sec­tion 56 (2) un­til fur­ther no­tice.

Res­i­dents of Ganesh­wadi hous­ing so­ci­ety in Kalyan (East) had not been re­ceiv­ing wa­ter sup­ply for the past few days. They com­plained to the KDMC about the prob­lem.

“Two days af­ter they reg­is­tered the com­plaint, there was no sign of civic of­fi­cials to look into the prob­lem. The res­i­dents again ap­proached the depart­ment and fi­nally the civic em­ploy­ees came to fix the prob­lem on Fri­day,” said San­tosh Rane, 55, a res­i­dent from Ganesh­wadi so­ci­ety.

The of­fi­cials were on the build­ing premises for a long time. Miffed with the slow pace of work, some of the res­i­dents went to see what the civic staff was do­ing.

What they saw shocked them. The KDMC staff was hav­ing a full-fledged party. They were drink­ing and eat­ing in­stead of work­ing. Res­i­dents said they could not wait till the work got over to ob­serve Gatari. Gatari is un­re­strained drink­ing and eat­ing non-vege­tar­ian food be­fore Shra­van, a pe­riod of fast­ing and avoid­ing al­co­hol and non­veg­e­tar­ian food.

“When the of­fi­cials were caught red-handed by the res­i­dents, they tried to leave the hous­ing so­ci­ety. When the res­i­dents tried to stop them by clos­ing the so­ci­ety gate, they kicked and punched them,” said Rane.

Deepak Patil, deputy mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner, said: “They were im­me­di­ately sus­pended af­ter their pic­tures went vi­ral. We will soon spell out the mea­sures on reg­u­lat­ing and mon­i­tor­ing the be­hav­iour of our em­ploy­ees.”

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