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Is India Really Open Defecation Free?

Written by Shakeb Zuber

Chappan Pahari slums in the capital city Delhi, lack sanitation and unavailability of toilets are forcing the residents to defecate in open. This comes after the government declaring  India open defecation free. 

Ranjeet, a resident of Chappan Pahadi area said, “No toilet has been built so far for us. We have to go to the other side of the road to defecate.”  The residents dig up the ground to defecate in the open which has caused several health problems.

Women and children are the most affected. “If someone is standing right in front of us, how will we sit. We also face health problems by defecating here. But in an emergency situation, how can one access toilet which is so far away. If it would be near then we won’t be having a problem using it and also they close the public toilet after 11 pm.” 

In 2014, the Government of India launched Swacch Bharat Mission aiming to build more toilets irrespective of whether the colonies are authorized or unauthorized and notified or non-notified slums.

Experts suggest that despite the great initiative, failure has happened because of the lack of coordination within the government.

Mr. R.S Sharma, president of Nyay Shakti Yojana, said: “Any person or community members either male or female don’t want to live in an unhygienic environment. But few community members are helpless as they can’t get access to proper sanitation. The problem lies from the government end where MP, MLA’s, and ward councillor gets funds, but it is the lack of co-ordination that leads to the ineffective implementation.”

Narendra Modi has declared the nation as open defecation free on 2nd October 2019, yet there are still many people who don’t get access to the toilet. 

Watch the video to know how over 400 houses in Delhi’s slums have access to just one public toilet.

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Shakeb Zuber

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