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Congress poll-vault: Toilet for each shanty in Mumbai

In a bid to woo voters before the upcoming civic polls, the Congress party wants to make Mumbai’s slums self-contained.

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In a bid to woo voters before the upcoming civic polls, the Congress party wants to make Mumbai’s slums self-contained.
Vinod Shekhar, a Congress corporator from Colaba, demanded that the municipality must allow slum dwellers to construct toilets in their homes. Mumbai Congress President Kripashankar Singh has also supported the demand and is also considering entertaining it as the party’s election manifesto.

In Mumbai, 60% of the population resides in slums. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) provides them civic amenities like water and common toilet facilities. “The toilets are dirty and are located far away from the slums. Sometimes, people have to pay to use them,” said Shekhar.

The BMC’s survey reveals that there is a shortage of over 64,000 toilets in Mumbai, with the demand-supply gap is always widening. The average ratio of persons per toilet in the slums is 81:1. In some slums, like those in the A, S and F South wards, the ratio is a staggering 273 persons per toilet seat.

Mumbai Regional Congress president Kripashankar Singh has also supported Vinod Shekhar’s demand. “I have already talked with some corporators and senior leaders in Mumbai Congress. I will accommodate the issue in the party’s manifesto for the civic elections,” Singh said. “There are many slum dwellers, who want to construct toilets in their homes but the BMC does not allow them,” he added.

“If the BMC allows them, it would reduce the shortage of toilets,” Shekhar said.

An engineer from sewage department said, “If the BMC allows this, it will create an unnecessary burden on the sewage system.”
The BMC has undertaken a Slum Sanitation Programme (SSP) with the help of the World Bank and constructed 330 toilet blocks with 6,050 toilet seats. Another 35,000 toilet seats through 183 blocks are supposed to be completed by December.  The current total of toilet blocks is 78,000.

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