Sanitation conditions of slums in Delhi

New Delhi, the capital of India is the home of around 20 million people. This city is considered to be having a glorious past, ambitious present and a bright future. It is one of the most preferred investment hubs in the country. It has provided efficient infrastructure, high standard of living, and spacious streets to its inhabitants. It is at the height of advancement and modern life style; some people here enjoy high-end and luxurious life with numerous facilities. But, we seldom look at the slum clusters which are even situated in posh areas of the city.

Urban poor are struggling for their survival in a globalized era and in times of rapid urbanization. Delhi is experiencing the impact of these changes at multiple levels, and the worst impact is felt by the poorest of poor, living in urban slums. People migrate to cities with a dream to earn a better livelihood. But their hopes and aspirations are far from the reality, when they start living in slum locations and face a daily challenge in accessing water and sanitation facilities. It is highly surprising that according to survey conducted in 2011, over 1/3 of the Delhi’s estimated population live in slums with no basic resources like clean water and proper food. Proper system of cleaning roads, disposal of garbage & waste water, proper toilets and other essential facilities that are required for maintaining hygienic condition are absent. In absence of support from MCD, the slum clusters have their own alternative mechanism, which include private sweepers, disposal to nearest dustbin, throwing on roadside and other means.

According to latest statistics, 55-56% children living in slums and so called unauthorized colonies in Delhi defecate in the open. Even infants, women are forced to go nearby plot to defecate due to lack of public toilets. This is a serious problem and needs to be look upon seriously and immediately. It not only puts them at the risk of facing exploitation but also poses a serious health challenge to the affluent colonies located near these areas. Women especially face harassment as it becomes a challenge to go out and defecate. Few months ago some men tried to grope a woman when she went out in the evening to defecate. Even if someone wants to use the brimming broken toilet, they can’t as the ceiling can collapse anytime. People living in slums with help of NGOs have written many times to DUSIB (Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board). The officials often assure that work will begin soon and give lame promises to construct new toilet blocks and they also say that the budget has been passed.

Slums are also an integral part of Delhi, it can be left unattended. Government of Delhi should take immediate measures to improve the sanitation conditions of the slums so that people could get better place to live in and fulfill their dreams.