New Delhi: Every morning, 52-year-old Sunita walks to the drain outside her house in the Navjeevan Camp of Govindpuri slums, with a pot to fill drinking water. The tap for the pipelines is situated in the drain, where all the kids and women urinate and defecate, due to the lack of toilets here. Once she fills the water, she has to filter the insects and other pollutants out of this water using a piece of cotton cloth. Just like Sunita, approximately 20,000 girls and women living in Navjeevan Camp, Bhoomiheen camp and the Jawaharlal Nehru Camp, in the Govindpuri region, follow this procedure in order to access the polluted drinking water available for them.
It is reported that over 40,000 people residing in these three slums, share one common tube well to access water. The pipelines that supply water from the tube well sometimes deliver the water only for an hour a day. Furthermore, the water available is remarkably polluted as the pipelines are situated in the dirty drains, where the residents urinate and defecate in the open, due to the unavailability of toilets in these slums, as informed by NCW.
Taking cognizance of media reports of this extreme water scarcity in South Delhi, the National Commission for Women wrote to the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, urging him to take necessary steps to solve the issue. The letter speaks about the issue of water crisis faced by three slums of the Govindpuri area, Navjeevan Camp, Bhoomiheen camp and the Jawaharlal Nehru Camp, where the women have to resort to unhygienic ways to access the polluted water available for them.
The letter requests the Delhi government to take appropriate steps to ensure that safe, clean and affordable water is accessible to the people living in these slums.
The letter reads,
Due to lack of safe drinking water adequate sanitation and hygiene facilities at home, it is disproportionately difficult for women and girls to lead safe, productive and healthy lives.
The NCW asserts that the access to safe drinking water is an integral part of every human being’s right to live with dignity, especially women as they have specific hygiene needs. Lack of safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene facilities at home, it becomes excessively difficult for women and girls to lead safe, productive and healthy lives, the letter says. The NCW explains in the letter,
Women have specific sanitation needs during menstruation, pregnancy and child-rearing.
The letter further attempts to draw the CM’s attention towards the issue of absence of toilets in the slums and calls for ‘steps to mitigate the hardship and implement objectives of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.