Differently-abled couple fined for building toilet in Delhi


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NEW DELHI: The public toilet near their hutment has been non-functional for years now

India-Sanitation-Summit-Sanitation-for-All-Toilet-First-6-Feb-2015-New-Delhi-300x180Ram Khilari who is visually-impaired in one eye, and his differently-abled wife Shanti recently took a loan of Rs.20,000 at an interest rate of 24 per cent per annum to build a toilet of their own. However, the civic body has fined them for the “illegal construction”.

While the public toilet near their hutment has been non-functional for years, this latest move has now forced the differently-abled Schedule Caste couple and their teenage daughter to either defecate in the open or travel to a toilet far away. “Mine is a small family, with a 15-year-old daughter, at house no. 253, Ram Prasad Bismil Camp, Sashi Garden. This is a hutment and although there is a community toilet complex here, it was closed long time ago. Consequently, we were compelled to either defecate in the open or walk to a distant toilet facility,” Mr. Khilari said.

“The civic body fined the couple for illegal construction under provisions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957. They were fined on November 18, just about a month after the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2. Further, they were asked to demolish the toilet or face further action. Already reeling under the burden of the loan, the family is now in a spot,” said advocate Ashok Aggarwal.

He has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his assistance in making toilets available to all, particularly those living in hutment.

“The present case is only illustrative of the plight of a population of over 35 lakh living in over a thousand hutment across Delhi, who have no access to clean and safe toilets. Even in this place, community toilets are either non-existent or defunct, the unpragmatic legal norms, besides financial incapacity, come in the people’s way of making their own arrangements,” he added.

He added that several households in Mr Khilari’s locality have been fined for constructing their own toilet and asked to demolish the same.

East Delhi Municipal Corporation Commissioner Manish Gupta said the civic body will look into the matter.



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