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A program unit of Centre
for Promotion of Social Concerns
Trichy, Tamil Nadu
NGO claims open defecation persists in 38 wards of city

Trichy: At a time when the city is boasting of an open defecation free (ODF) tag and gearing up for Swachh Survekshan 2018, a study conducted by an environmental NGO here has shown that open defecation is the norm in 137 locations spread across 38 wards in the city, that is over 50 per cent of the wards. In a severe blow to the Trichy Corporation which has often been portrayed as the cleanest city in the state after coming in the top 10 for two consecutive years till 2016, the study found that people in about 22 wards had no proper access to public toilets.
The survey, conducted by Trichy-based Thooimai eNGO, claimed that several public sanitary complexes in the city limits remained locked though the projects were completed months or years ago. While claiming that complaints from local people on poor sanitary facility in their localities was the reason for carrying out such a survey in the past two months, the eNGO members rejected the "Open Defecation Free (ODF)" tag given by the ministry of urban development (MoUD) to Trichy city in December 2016. "The open defecation free city tag is a big lie. In as many as 137 spots, open defecation is still in practice. We find absence of proper sanitary complexes and also poor maintenance of such public toilets as reason," K Chandrasekar, coordinator of eNGO, said displaying the photographs pointing to the bad shape of corporation toilets. The allegations by the eNGo have come at a time when the city corporation is gearing up for Swachh Survekshan 2018, a survey conducted by the Union government to rank cleanliness in cities.

The survey results released by the organisation also showed that public toilets were abandoned by Trichy Corporation at about 33 spots spread across 23 wards of the civic body. The two-member team including Chandrasekar and A John Peter, organiser of the eNGO, inferred that absence of water facility and lack of manpower to clean the toilets were reasons for the civic body to abandon the toilets including a few near Ponmalai though they are in good condition at 33 spots. "People's response and satisfaction are much more important than awards provided by Swachh Bharat Mission. With the results of the survey highlighting the faults in Urban Local Body, authorities concerned should swing into action for fetching solutions," Henri Tiphagne, founder of People's Watch, invited as special guest during the launch of survey results at Trichy on Tuesday, said.

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