May 18, 2013

INDIA: 750 Residents, But No Toilet In This West Delhi Slum

The Times of India
written by Staff
Friday May 17, 2013

NEW DELHI - A slum cluster in west Delhi has a problem that can shame the government for its lofty claims of making Delhi an ideal city. About 750 people in this Punjabi Bagh neighbourhood don't have a single toilet. As a result, they have been forced to defecate in the open. And this has been on for almost a year.

Upset with officials' attitude, the slum dwellers had protested outside Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board last year but to no good. "In the last few months, we were going to a nearby plot to defecate but even that place is choking now," said Rakesh Kumar, pradhan of the slum.

Highlighting the plight of these 300-families, Kumar said that women especially are facing harassment as it has become a challenge to go out and defecate.

"Last month, some men tried to grope a woman when she went out in the evening. Even if someone wants to use the brimming broken toilet, they cannot as the ceiling can collapse anytime. The water tank placed above it has been leaking for months and it has become very risky."

Moved by the suffering of these people, nearby Punjabi Bagh residents had also written to DUSIB.

"The officials had assured us that work will begin soon. They even promised to construct a new toilet block and said that the budget has been passed. We also approached the area MLA and councillor but they too turned a blind eye," said Anita Bhargava of Lets do it Delhi.

When TOI contacted the officials, they seemed unaware of the situation. "We will look into the matter. We can only comment of the situation after inspection ... we haven't received any letter or any other complaint from the resident of JJ slum cluster," said an official with DUSIB.

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