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Monday, 9 December 2013

India "missing" 3.75 crore toilets: sanitation activists

 Sanitation activists today observed 'World Toilet Day' and alleged that 3.75 crore lavatories in India as claimed by Ministry for Rural Development did not exist and were "missing".
Activists of Right to Sanitation (RTS) Campaign's India chapter demanded an inquiry into the "huge gap" in the number of toilets existing on the field and the number provided in the data by the Rural Development Ministry and Census 2011.
On the occasion, the activists organised a range of programmes across 14 states around the theme of 'missing toilets' and 'crisis of sanitation' in the country.
Various groups including Action India, Rashtriya Dalit Mahila Andolan, National Confederation of Dalit Organisations, Safai Karmchari Andolan, etc also demanded for the enactment of the law to provide constitutional status to the Right to Sanitation so that it becomes a legal civil right.
They also stressed that special focus should be accorded for the availability of toilets for women, disabled and aged in public spaces. "The socially excluded communities such as Dalits and adivasis should be covered totally as an emergency," the activists said.
Volunteers organised signature campaigns around metro stations in the central part of the city and highlighted the accessibility of toilets by the disabled people.
Representatives from the slums and resettlement colonies demanded the maintenance of existing toilets and construction of new toilets. Women from some colonies also shared that they have just 44 seat public toilets for a population of 29,000.
According to the activists, the women shared with them the "incidents of violence" that they face when they go for open defecation or use public toilets.
"These women demand sanitation services for their dignity, health and development," a sanitation activist said.
A group of children also staged a play on their problems related to availability and accessibility of toilets.
Campaigns were organised in Andhra PradeshBiharChhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu.
India is the global capital in terms of people going for open defecation. Rural sanitation coverage is still around 30 per cent (Census 2011) and the budget allocation is about 0.04 per cent of our GDP



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