BBMP's goal: to make city free of open toilets in a year

BBMP's goal: to make city free of open toilets in a year

BBMP's goal: to make city free of open toilets in a year

In a year's time, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike wants to declare the city Open Defecation Free (ODF).

"We will declare 157 wards of the 198 wards as Open Defecation Free soon," said Sarfaraz Khan, BBMP Joint Commissioner for Health and Solid Waste Management.

This would mean 79.2% of the city is ODF, while 41 wards still practice open defecation. The Bangalore South and Mahadevapura zones will be the first to go ODF as all the wards have complied with the norms. Conversely, no wards in the Yelahanka zone could be declared ODF as yet.

The Union government's Swachh Bharat Mission has provided a set of guidelines to declare a city or a place ODF. A key aspect of the guideline is to build community toilets in every 500 metres.

"Providing necessary infrastructure is a massive task, given the city's large and exploding population. The municipal body is beginning to do it now," solid waste management expert Sandhya Narayan said.

In addition, the civic body should also get declaration forms from school students, teachers and self-help groups that they are using the toilets available in their areas. The forms will be submitted to the councillor, who in turn will give them to the mayor or municipal commissioner for scrutiny.

The forms will then be sent to the Swachh Bharat Mission, which would inspect the ward and declare it ODF.

But the BBMP is still far from building the requisite community toilets.

A recent survey by IChangeMyCity revealed that the civic body is yet to build 1,100 toilet sheds to reach the ODF targets.

"The BMTC bus stations are where people can easily access toilets, but the BBMP doesn't   maintain them," said Sapna Karim, head of citizen participation at Janaagraha. "No toilets exist in the peripheral areas and the ones available have accessibility issues."

B'luru vs Mysuru  

Khan pointed out that Bengaluru is a sprawling city with several complications compared to Mysuru.

"We have written to the Swachh Bharat Mission for funds to build 2,500 public toilets, especially in slum areas to ensure people don't defecate in the open," he said.

The civic body is particularly struggling to find land to build toilets.

The BBMP will soon publish details of wards declared ODF in the public domain and invite people's opinion.