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BMC to take over MHADA toilets for maintenance

Wednesday, January 03, 2018
By Raju Vernekar

Local bodies authorised to collect fine for defecation in open

As part of the Prime Minister’s “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA)”, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to take over maintenance of public toilets (with nearly 70,000 seats) constructed by MHADA in different transit camps located in Mumbai.

The move is based on the direction given by Chief Secretary (CS) Sumeet Mallick to the BMC and MHADA officials in a meeting held sometime back. While the toilets in better conditions are to be handed over to the BMC as it is, MHADA is also required to repair and handover 9,000 odd toilets, which are not in a bad condition, to the BMC.

Speaking to The Afternoon D&C, Anant Dahiphale, Chief Officer Mumbai, Slum Improvement Board of the Mumbai Repair and Reconstruction Board (a unit of MHADA), said that the toilets are being handed over to the BMC, as per the direction of the CS. The board has neither separate fund nor machinery to look after the maintenance of these toilets, which includes supply of water, electricity and provisions for drainage system. Resultantly, the board was required to seek the help of NGOs and other parties.

“Now the work of preparing the lists of MHADA toilets is almost over and in fact, the toilets from one or two wards have already been handed over to the BMC. The maximum number of toilets will be handed over to the BMC by January 31, 2018 in the first phase and the remaining will be handed over subsequently,” Dahiphale said.

MHADA builds community toilets for slums using MP and MLA funds. However, it is required to obtain a NOC from the BMC. This is time consuming and leads to duplication of work. Now that these toilets are being taken over by the BMC, better management of toilets is expected, Dahiphale said.

In fact, the state urban development department vide its GRs issued on September 1 and 11, 2017, had instructed all local bodies that as part of the “SBA”, they should ensure that open defecation is stopped entirely in their area or the funds for 2017-2018 would not be released. The local bodies had been asked to beautify open spots to deter people from defecating in the open. Local bodies including the BMC and other municipal corporations were also asked to upload documents related to SBA on the department’s website.

In the meanwhile, through a GR issued on December 30, 2017, the state urban development department has authorised municipalities to collect fines from those not adhering to cleanliness norms. The fines will be: An offence of throwing litter on streets- Rs 180 (in A and B class municipalities) - Rs 150 (in C and D class municipalities), spitting in public places- Rs 150 (in A and B class municipalities) -Rs 100 (in C and D class municipalities), urinating in public places- Rs 200 (in A and B class municipalities) -Rs 100 (in C and D class municipalities) and defecating in public places- Rs 500 (in A and B class municipalities) - Rs 500 (in C and D class municipalities).

In another development, as part of the open defecation-free (ODF) campaign, the BMC has decided to construct over 18,000 public toilet blocks at an estimated cost of Rs. 376 crore, this year. It is expected to start allocating work by January 15. The two and three-storey toilets would be constructed to overcome space shortage.

“Nearly 11,170 existing old toilets will be pulled down and 15,774 new toilets will be constructed in their place using improved designs. While the city will get an additional 4,604 toilet blocks in place of the old ones, the remaining 3,044 toilet blocks will be built from scratch. To implement SBA, Mumbai needs 1.28 lakh toilet seats. At present, the BMC aims to have an average of one toilet seat per 50 people,” civic sources said.

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