SAMBALPUR: Despite open defecation-free (ODF) claim by Sambalpur Municipal Corporation (SMC), instances of answering nature’s call in the open continue in the city.
Though more than 12 community toilets have been constructed along the Ring Road, residents of Bada Bazaar area are yet to get a facility in their locality.
On February 17 last year, the SMC had launched ‘Sauchamukta Mahanadi Abhiyan’ to make the river banks flowing along Ring Road free from open defecation. Even the civic body had imposed fine of `500 for defecating in the open. Still, people are found defecating in the open, putting the residents at risk of diseases.
Rakesh Pradhan, a resident of Ramayan Gali in Bada Bazaar, had been trying to get a community toilet for his area and had submitted a proposal in this regard long ago. Though Pradhan drew the attention of the civic body on many occasions, his proposal was rejected citing that the proposed area is not suitable for construction of the toilet.
Ramayan Gali has nearly 60 households with a majority facing the problem of lack of toilets. Residents are forced to go to ‘Sadak Ghat’, the oldest ghat of river Mahanadi, to attend nature’s call.
Similarly, residents of Haldi Mill Para, Dhuba Para, Daldali Para and Sunari Para with 200 households are going to ‘Sadak Ghat’ for defecating in open. The nearest community toilet for them is near Samaleswari Temple, which is almost one km away.
Rakesh said, “Though we have encouraged women of the locality to go to the toilet near the temple, many are still going to the ghat as it is nearest to them.”
There are also instances of well off families residing along Ring Road and having toilets at homes preferring to defecate along the banks of river Mahanadi.
Locals alleged that though the civic body had started the initiative, there has been no follow-up action. The campaign was started last year and people were fined for defecating in the open. There was a sharp fall in the number of offenders. But things were back to square one after patrolling was discontinued by the corporation.