The opposition AAP in the BJP-led NDMC today alleged that the civic body declaring all its wards open defecation free was a "hollow claim" and said it should instead focus on improving sanitation infrastructure keeping the needy in mind. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on January 1 had announced that all its 104 wards were now open defecation free (ODF) from December 31. On one hand, there is so much noise about the preparations being made for the ASEAN summit and on the other hand, the NDMC declaring its wards ODF has proven to be a "hollow claim", Leader of the Opposition in the NDMC, Rakesh Kumar said. The AAP leader, in a statement today said, "If the wards are to be made ODF in the truest sense, first the public toilet facilities run by private companies need to be made free-of-cost." "Secondly, the sanitation-level of toilets have to be stepped up and the toilets should be built in rural and slum areas, keeping in mind the needs of the people in the area," he said. Kumar said the councillor of Ward No.72-N has said that in the Wazirpur Industrial Area there is a population of about 70,000 in JJ colonies, but there is only "one toilet of the corporation" in the area and there are 14 blocks of the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board toilets which have 650 seats in total. "It is impossible for people to be accommodated and so people are forced to relieve themselves by the canal. "Also, because of improper lighting facility and faulty doors, many women are forced to go out and relieve in the open," Kumar claimed. He said that the mayor, while announcing the wards ODF, had said that the facilities at petrol refuelling stations, restaurants and other places can be availed by people, but it has been found that the "poor are generally not allowed to use them" because there are no penal provisions, if they are not permitted. There are 314 community toilet complexes (CTCs), with 3,508 seats for men and 3,232 seats for women. Besides, there are a total of 2,063 seats of men and 3,256 seats for women available in the public toilets, including the ones at petrol pumps, restaurants, metro stations and the Delhi Development Authority markets falling in the areas under the jurisdiction of the corporation, the NDMC said. On January 1, while announcing the wards ODF, North Delhi Mayor Preety Agarwal had said that "security is one main reason to keep our toilets closed at night.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)