HYDERABAD: Even as the Hitec City is being beautified and readied ahead of the mega Global Entrepreneurship Summit, roads leading to the venue lack a basic facility - toilets. The reality has dawned after GHMC officials gave a facelift to the route to be used the most by dignitaries attending the summit. After three months of preparation, officials have noticed that people in the slums near Hitex junction defecate in the open.
Interestingly, city was declared Open Defecation Free in August. Even then, Express reported (on Aug 27) that slum dwellers preferred open defecation to inaccessible community toilets. The situation has actually worsened ahead of the summit as hundreds of workers contracted to complete the beautification works openly relieve themselves in open areas around the stretch. Women workers have a gruelling time as they have no place to go during their seven-hour work shift. The closest public toilet located is 1.9 kilometres away from the venue which is two times farther than the minimum distance mandated by the Swachh Bharat Mission - Urban — a public toilet between every one kilometre.
Take the case contract worker Bhavana, who does not prefer to go to the public toilet near Indira Gandhi statue at Hi-tec city because of the distance she has to cover. “The toilet is far away from the place we are working and it is not wise to walk all through the place all the time I feel an urgency. So, I only relieve myself after I go back to my home near Lingampally.”
The slum dwellers, mostly from Kurnool, said they never had access to toilets from the time they settled there. One of the residents said that the charges collected at the toilet were an additional burden considering the paltry money they make. Another woman from Warangal district, pointing to the dense open land near Anamacharya Bhavana Vahini that leads to Jayabheri said, “the open land is our toilet.” A brand new set of six modern pre-fabricated toilets which have been housed at the HICC entrance for at least a week are yet to be installed by the GHMC officials.
“Toilets are meant for people near the Hitex junction who still openly defecate and do not have access to toilets. They will be installed soon,” said Harinichandra, zonal commissioner, GHMC. Since there is a lot of movement by the brick workers and slum dwellers across the lane, we thought of having the water-resistant toilets there, she added.