NMMC fines open defecators but city has few public toilets
The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has started cracking the whip on those who defecate in the open.
They have started imposing fines on violators to prevent open defecation. But they have failed to realise that there are still no public toilets at several places of the city.
Because of the strict actions taken by the civic body the very act being alive has become a costly affair for the poor people, especially the slum dwellers.
“We are not allowed to open defecate in the open, but there is no public toilet in our area. We cannot avoid this act of defecation fearing action. We also don’t have money to pay the fines. So we have found ourselves between the devil and the deep sea,” said Rajat Kathat, 38, a Turbhe resident.
The NMMC has provided mobile toilets at some places. Given the number of residents of those areas, these toilets are not sufficient. People have to stand in long queues to attend the nature’s call every morning. Finding no other option, many of them go to defecate out.
“One one hand NMMC is not developing new public toilets, while on the other they are also not taking efforts to repaired the toilets that have been lying defunct for several months now. You will find scores of such beautifully developed toilets which are not usable now. NMMC has no time to take action in that regard. But they can come and collect fines from us,” said Abhilasha Shinde, 31, a Nerul resident.
Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, NMMC had decided to develop public toilets at different places after conducting a survey in the city last year. Very few of their plans have seen their light of day.
Rajesh Pillai, 31, another resident of Turbhe store said, “The stretch on Thane-Belapur road, between Turbhe railway station and Pawane bridge is being used as public toilet for years now. You cannot even walk in that area because of this menace. But where will the people go when they have no alternative.”
Rita Metrawar, deputy municipal commissioner of NMMC said, “Presently there are 438 public toilets in the city with 5227 seats. We are developing 35 more toilets with 300 seats. Around 29 of the new toilets have been developed near the slums and gaothan areas. These toilets will be thrown open to the public in two months.”
Ramesh Chavan, additional commissioner of NMMC (service) said, “We have taken initiatives to repair the defunct toilets. Renovation has already been started and many of them will be usable within a few weeks.”
If you are a nature lover and have always been an active participant in nature trails and camps, this is your chance to switch your side from being a nature loving student to a complete nature guide. Kharghar based non-profit environmental organisation iNaturewatch foundation is organising a three day programme titled ‘The complete naturalist’ aimed at creating urban naturalists specially for Navi Mumbai.
“The best part about the programme is that the participants need not have a science background for doing the programme. All you need to have is passion for teaching and we will provide the required skills for becoming a naturalist,” said V Shubhalakshmi, one of the faculty members and organisers of the programme. The course will have various topics like natural history, environment education, nature management, communicating science which will be followed by a three-month unpaid apprenticeship.
“It is going to be more of a practical training with nature trails, outdoor activities,” said the organiser. Those interested to register can call on the number 9987013144.