Staff Reporter

Local citizens complain of unhygienic conditions at facility Some inmates use the streets as an open toilet and also spit in public. This caused anxiety to the residents.

TAMBARAM: Residents of Tambaram Sanatorium have been complaining about discharge of sewage in the open and unhygienic conditions in a private organisation providing temporary shelter to HIV and tuberculosis-affected persons in their locality, while those running the facility complain they are being discriminated against.

A couple of days ago, residents, elected representatives and those running the organisation had heated exchanges over the problem that has been simmering for several months now.

According to residents of Jaya Nagar near the Tambaram Railway Station, the Selvi Memorial Illam Society Community Shelter for those affected by HIV/AIDS did not take adequate care to properly discharge and also did not sensitise its inmates to take proper care of hygiene and sanitation in the locality.

While making it clear that they did not fear the spread of HIV/AIDS if affected persons visited their locality, they pointed out that a large number of the visitors to the centre were affected with tuberculosis, which could spread to others. Stating they were not discriminating inmates at the shelter or demanding that the centre be shifted, members of the Jaya Nagar Residents Welfare Association said they were upset over the discharge of sewage from shelter.

Further, some inmates used to use the streets as an open toilet and also spit in public. And this caused anxiety among those residents who had little children to care for. Representatives of the shelter said they provided temporary accommodation to those visiting the Government Hospital of Thoracic Medicine for getting their medical tests done.

They charged Rs. 50 a day from an inmate and provided them decent accommodation besides hygienic food.

They were very particular about maintaining the surroundings clean and that the sewage was cleared very often by private tanker operators.

Stating that fears of the residents were unfounded, they said there was no possibility for neighbours to be affected with HIV/AIDS or even tuberculosis just because the shelter was in their midst.

The shelter was started in 2003 and they were facing problems often, which they alleged was solely due to the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS.