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Sanitation is the last word here

J.S. Ifthekhar
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People live in sub human conditions in Mohammadnagar slum

Unimaginable: What is striking about the Mohammadnagar slum in Bholakpur is the total absence of toilets as the crammed dwellings simply can't afford a latrine. -PHOTO:G. RAMAKRISHNA
Unimaginable: What is striking about the Mohammadnagar slum in Bholakpur is the total absence of toilets as the crammed dwellings simply can't afford a latrine. -PHOTO:G. RAMAKRISHNA

Life here is much worse than the Dharavi slum. Slime and sludge greet one everywhere. The stink from faecal matter is overpowering. People live here in sub human conditions with civic amenities being non existent.

Mohammadnagar slum in Bholakpur gives the creeps. Deaths due to water contamination two years ago from this area are still fresh in memory but a bigger danger can be lurking in this basti.

It is an unending labyrinth of narrow lanes dotted with asbestos-roofed one room tenements. What is striking about this slum is the total absence of toilets. In fact the crammed dwellings simply can't afford a latrine. As a result inmates of the 160 houses here are forced to defecate and urinate in the open exposing themselves to environmental and health risks.

In 2002 the then MCH did built six public toilets at a cost of Rs. 3.99 lakh on a representation from the local corporator but it failed to provide water connection. There was no maintenance either with the result the facility was never utilised. With cracks all over, the rundown structure is on the verge of collapse now. Bholakpur being thickly populated, open space is getting scarce now. Therefore, in most homes a piece of cloth is strung in a corner where the women relieve themselves and later dispose off the waste matter elsewhere. “Men make use of the facility at the mosque”, says Zainuddin, who collects scrap. Interestingly, residents in Mohammadnagar are not much bothered. Women do not even want to talk about this inconvenience. Their bigger worry is to make the both ends meet. Segregation of plastic scrap is what most households do here.

“I manage to earn Rs. 150 to Rs. 200 per day by selling muruku”, says Abida Bee.

Residents are upset that the local MLA has not bothered to come to their help. “During election everyone came here to seek votes”, says Nizamuddin, general secretary, Bholakpur Welfare Association.

Another hazardous activity here is burning of the plastic cables for cooking. Gas cylinder is a far cry and so women make use of the waste plastic to cook. “But this could be highly dangerous and cause health problems” feels Zaheeruddin Samar, publicity secretary, TDP Minority Cell .


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