Disabled couple pays fine for constructing toilet in slum

Even if a public toilet is not working at a jhuggi jhopri in the city, constructing a loo in the area will invite a penalty by the municipal corporation.

The East Corporation has recently slapped a fine of Rs 200 on a disabled couple for “insanitary conditions” in a loo constructed by them at a slum in Shashi Garden, Mayur Vihar Phase 1.

However, the couple had to construct the toilet as the public loo in the jhuggi was not functional for over two months. This selective mechanism of performing its responsibility has raised concern among the residents.

Ram Khilari, who lives with his wife and three children at Ram Prasad Bismil Camp in Shashi Garden, claimed that he constructed the toilet after they had no place to defecate.

“Where will my wife and daughter defecate if the community toilet block is closed?” he asked.

“I have made proper arrangements in the newly constructed loo as well. I have dug a pit for excreta to go. There are others in the locality who had built tiolets almost a decade ago but never got any notice,” he added.

On November 18, officials from Special Metropolitan/Municipal Magistrate Office visited the area and issued a fine for causing insanitary conditions in the surroundings, Khilari said.

But the corporation’s Department of Environment Management Service said the pipe carrying excreta was broken.

“So we issued a fine of Rs 200 under sections 357 and 397 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act 1957. We come across many such cases and have to fine the defaulters otherwise the area will not remain fit for living,” said a DEMS senior official. The area councillor also said, “It’s a common problem in slum clusters.”

Even though the municipal corporations have become proactive in slapping fines, they failed to maintain public toilets in slum clusters in the city, said a social rights group.

“The present case highlights the plight of over 35 lakhs people living in over a 1,000 slums across Delhi who have no access to safe toilet facility,” said Social Jurist.

“While the community toilets are either non-existent or defunct, the non-pragmatic legal norms, come in people’s way of making their own arrangements. Consequently, people are forced to defecate in the open,” it added.

In Ram Khilari’s locality, two more persons have been fined for causing insanitary conditions in the surroundings.

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