“Governments build free or subsidized toilets in the villages but 8000 people in my community are forced to share 2 toilets,” says Amol Lalzare, our correspondent from the Sathenagar Slums in the city of Mumbai.
To perform their everyday ablution, people of Sathenagar have to wait in long lines for 15-20 minutes for their chance to arrive. The two toilets are open only from 4:30 in the morning to 12 at night. Post midnight, the community has no option but to go to the roadside.
Per visit to use the toilet costs Rs.2/- per perszon. It is not the simple math or the paltry amount that it seems. Each individual ends up spending Rs.4 – 8 per day. An average family of 5 ends up spending over Rs.20 every day. For people living in the slums, subsisting of barely minimum wages it is a substantially amount to flush down the drain. The situation can go potentially berserk in the case of the odd bad stomach.
To make the situation worse the Municipality’s Nagar Sewak (Corporator) seems least concerned. Each time they approach the authorities, the community comes across a different excuse. A local resident speaks of a long tale of denial.
“The Nagar Sewak says there is no space in the community. We have asked them many times. They say they will do something. 20-25 years have passed but nothing has happened.”
Amol and his community currently demand one more floor to be added to the present structure. This will decrease people’s problem to some extent. According to Mumbai Mahanagar Palika regulations, every 50 houses should have 12 toilets.
Mumbai is the capital of Maharastra and the economical capital of India, one of the fastest growing urban areas in the world.
What, then, is stopping the Municipality to fulfill basic needs?
Amol sums the whole situation, “First give amenities for basic needs, then talk about development.”