NMMC fines open defe­ca­tors but city has few pub­lic toi­lets

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com A locked pub­lic toi­let at Sion Pan­vel High­way, Vashi. Sang­hami­tra Sen­gupta sang­hami­tra.sen­gupta@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.


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