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toilets: in slums first

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  • info@karmayog.com
    If possible, first provide toilet facilities to people living in slums who having no other option resort to open air defecation and also causing health hazards
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2006
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      If possible, first provide toilet facilities to people living in slums who having no other option resort to open air defecation and also causing health hazards to everyone. It is unfortunate that we push the poor to such an inhuman condition. Civil society organisations and others, instead of thinking of educating the poor to keep their environment clean, can concentrate in provinding them such minimum basic needs. The points you have suggested to provide toilet facilities are  no doubt important, but more important is to provide such facilities in and around slum areas. Providing toilet does not mean mere construction of latrines, but to construct quality toilet with 24 hour water facility and people to manage them all. A nominal charge can be thought of.
       
      Keep up the good work you are doing,
       
      Best wishes,
      Ramaiah
      Tata Institute of Social Sciences
      www.tiss.edu               
       
      [Yes, toilet facilities for the poor should be / have been the first priority.
       
      Anyway, I think the important points to note are (in my opinion and based on my understanding):
       
      a) there is no shortage of money -- with BMC, World Bank types, Private Sector -- to build toilets.
       
      b) there is no overall policy document for the city
       
      c) there is no decision manual -- criteria for decisions, design, location selection, etc.
       
      d) there is no consensus amongst different stakeholders about where toilets should be located and no one has worked to build such a consensus. We all think that it is but obvious that toilets are needed but in reality there are many serious and influential objectors to building toilets.
       
      Examples (to my vague knowledge) are: NCPA at Nariman Point, Heritage activisits at Churchgate and Chowpatty, residents in most areas due to the stink, urban space activists who object to public space being used for such purposes, etc.
       
      So you can urinate outside Radio Club at Colaba but neither the Club nor all the hotels there will (again -- its hearsay) allow BMC to build a toilet on the road between Taj Hotel and Radio Club.
       
      e) So, and this I think is very important, building public toilets in any location is a huge task for BMC.
       
      f) This, for us, as citizens, translates to a strong perception of a lack of will and apathy by BMC.
       
      g) There is no information exchange mechanism today between citizens, civic groups, and authorities. I do hope that the LACG partnership will change that.
       
      Your thoughts would be very welcome.
      Regards, Vinay]
       
       
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