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| Last Updated:21/05/2014

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Over 59 % of Berhampur residents do not use toilets

The Hindu, 05 May 2014


BERHAMPUR: Around 59.5 per cent of the population of Berhampur is compelled to opt for open air defecation, which has become a major health hazard.


Members of ‘Children’s Federation’, an organisation of children living in slums of the city, demanded that the Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC) and administration should initiate measures so that Berhampur could become the first open air defecation free city of Odisha.


President of the ‘Children’s Federation’ Anjali Patra and its secretary Sivani Das said children were most affected by the contamination caused by open air defecation in most areas of the city. “The children of most families living slums suffer due to diseases like diarrhoea, gastro-enteritis or typhoid every month and their parents have to spend a lot on treatment,” they said.


As per the 2011 census, around 33 per cent of the total population lives in slums. The city sanitation plan of Berhampur accepts that only three per cent of slum dwellers use community toilets in their area. Even the non-slum dwellers defecate in the open. Around 15.1 per cent of non-slum dwellers of Berhampur do not have toilet facility in their homes. As per the City Sanitation Plan-2011, around 59.5 per cent of populace of the city are involved in practice of open air defecation.


In this traditional city, which is fast becoming a concrete jungle the space for open air defecation has also come down. It is an irony that at present, the banks of ponds and tanks within city limits are being used, which raises chances of water pollution, said social activist Bibhu Prasad Sahu.


The number of community public toilets is also too low in Berhampur. There are 24 community toilets in 13 out of total 40 wards of the city. As per a recent study almost half of them do not have proper water supply and lack proper cleaning due to which they are also not used to their full capacity. Six public toilets in the city have also become defunct.


The budgetary provision of the BMC towards maintenance of public toilets is only 37 lakh rupees per year which is 0.44 per cent of the total budget of the BMC for 2013-14. The urban body had not allocated any funds for construction of any new public toilets from 2000-01 to 2011-12.


During the meeting of the ‘Children’s Federation’, attended by over 150 children representatives from 22 slums of the city, the children were of the opinion that the BMC must initiate measures so that toilets become mandatory for construction of any new house within city limits and provision of adequate number of well maintained public toilets in slum areas. They also demanded immediate renovation of existing community toilets in the city with provision of adequate supply of water, electricity and regular cleaning.


15.1 per cent of non-slum dwellers of Berhampur do not have toilets

150 children from 22 slums of the city urged the BMC to construct toilets