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Poor AMC allocation: Basic amenities, gutter lines lacking, forcing slumdwellers to defecate in open, Ahmedabad authorities told

Vijay Nehra
By Our Representative
Even as Ahmedabad has been declared “open defecation free plus” (ODF+) by the Narendra Modi government, which means the city has hygienic and usable public toilets, a grassroots community survey suggests that this is far from true in a large number of areas of the city.
Results of the survey are part of a memorandum addressed to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) commissioner Vijay Nehra, who claimed that “a third-party inspection was carried out” to prove how the city has become more hygienic to live in.
The survey shows that in 100 societies of 26 different areas of Ahmedabad, people lack basic amenities. If some societies such as in Ambedkar Nagar and Indira Nagar in Nikol area, or in Boot Bhawani and Suryanagar in Vejalpur area, or the Bombay Hotel area, there are no household toilets or gutter lines, forcing people defecate in the open, in other places the gutter lines are either choked or are profusely leaking.
Released to media by community leaders from different parts of Ahmedabad, talking about the survey, Parsottam Vaghela of Manav Garima Trust said, “The slum Chandrabhaga slum area adjacent to the Gandhi Ashram for decades does not have any gutter line even today, not to talk of individual toilets. Ninety per cent of the people defecate in the open.”
Vaghela, a Valmiki leader, added, “The situation has come to this because the AMC has not been spending 10% if its budget, as required by law, for Dalits, Adivasis and other economically weaker sections of the population. In 2018-19, 10% allocation would mean Rs 524 crore; yet, according to our calculation, the AMC spent merely Rs 78 crore. Most of the amount is diverted in building bridges or toilets meant for general public.”
The memorandum contains demands to spend 10% of the AMC budget for 2019-20, to be presented shortly, on household and public toilets, gutter lines, bathrooms, drinking water facilities, community health centres, ration shops, street lights, day care centres for infants, internal roads, etc. in the societies where underprivileged sections live.
The media conference, which took place at an NGO office at Drive In Road, saw a cop posted inside hall, keeping a close watch at what the community leaders were saying and the questions that were being asked.

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