Delhi civic agencies pulled up for poor sanitation

New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) Ahead of the Commonwealth Games, the Delhi High Court has pulled up the civic agencies for poor sanitation in the capital, noting the conditions had not improved for the past 12 years.

A division bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Veena Birbal Friday criticised the civic agencies for their ‘callous approach’ to worsening sanitation saying: ‘When things have not changed in 12 years, then what will happen in 12 days?’

The bench’s remark came after counsel for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) sought more time to file their status report. The court agreed to a deadline of April 29.

The court, after taking the affidavit by Delhi Cantonment Board on record, warned them that if their stand was found to be false on inspection, the court would have no option but to issue contempt notice.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal, counsel in the case, told the bench: ‘We are preparing ourselves for the Commonwealth Games and it’s horrible that the civic agencies do not even perform their basic duty. It’s a violation of the rights of citizens, especially women, who have no option but to defecate in the open.’

The pathetic state of public toilets was highlighted by Shahana Sheikh, a final year student of economics at Lady Sri Ram College who undertook a tour of slums and the outskirts of Delhi from May to July 2008.

According to Sheikh, the MCD, in its 2007 report claims that there are 3,192 public conveniences in the national capital but she found only 1,534 toilets in her survey.

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