Two toilets for over 12,000 people. This is what the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan looks like in Mumbai’s Mankhurd area.
The Swachh Bharat Mission is a nationwide cleanliness campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. The primary objective of the campaign has been to ensure that India is open defecation free by 2019. In Mumbai’s Sathe Nagar basti in Mankhurd the state of sanitation continues to be deplorable. While the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan recommends one toilet per 25 people, Sathe Nagar has two toilets for a settlement of 12,000 – that’s one toilet for six thousand people. In Mumbai, this number is between 75 to 100 people for one toilet.
“Imagine if somebody has diarrhoea…where does one go?” asks Rushi Sathe, a resident of Sathe Nagar, Mankhurd area. The lack of adequate sanitation facilities in the area forces residents to continue to defecate in the open. “Look at the number of people in my house. From an 8-year-old, three sons, my husband, and I. We are a total six of us. At Rs 2, for each toilet use per family member, we spend Rs 12. If we go twice a day, we spend Rs 25. We easily end up spending Rs 50 only to use toilets,” rues Mangal Salve from Mankhurd. Paying per toilet use not just adds to the burden of the residents of Sathe Nagar, but that of urban poor across Mumbai who spend Rs 150 every month to use toilets.
“In a country which dreams of becoming a super-power, a large population is still troubled by standing in the toilet queue”, says Community Correspondent Amol Lalzare who has been reporting on the issue in the area since 2014. Since then, Amol and his community have followed up with authorities but to no avail.
Help the community living in Sathe Nagar get access to adequate sanitation by urging the authorities to take action. You may call Vitthal Lokare, Corporator, ward 141, Mumbai on +91-9892255421 and apprise him of the problem.
Video by Community Correspondent Amol Lalzare
Article by Grace Jolliffe, a member of the VV editorial team