The All Karnataka Bengali Migrant Worker’s Samiti has been working towards providing sanitation and toilets for Bengali migrant workers in Kundanahalli, Bangalore.
Bangalore, April 11, 2018: Lack of proper sanitation is one of the many problems that the migrants who have settled at Kundanahalli in Bangalore’s Whitefield face.
At a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been pushing for ‘Swachh Bharat’ an initiative which talks about sanitation for all, the 700 odd families settled in the outskirts of Bangalore have been denied basic facilities.
Jahangir, a migrant worker from West Bengal who has been living in Bangalore for the past 10 years, said that they have to use a makeshift toilet and that most families use the same since they can’t build toilets for themselves.
The All Karnataka Bengali Migrant Worker’s Samiti, a body formed in December of 2017 to cater to the declining status of Bengali migrant workers in the city, has been spearheading the mission of building toilets for the families.
R. Kaleemullah, a member of the committee and an activist from Movement for Justice, an NGO that works with labour workers in the city said that the Samiti had planned to build around 100 toilets.
“We are going to collect money from everyone in the area and from the members of the Samiti in order to build the toilets. We have not received any aid from the government,” added R. Kaleemullah.
However, he says that the work isn’t going as smoothly as they thought it would. He said that ahead of the elections, construction work had to be stopped midway owing to “The work isn’t going as smoothly as I thought it would. Apparently, workers of some political party aren’t letting us construct toilets We have been asked to resume work post the state elections and the migrants have also asked us to not come to the area,” said R Kaleemullah.
Abdul Jabbar, another migrant worker has said that the lack of toilets has forced them to defecate in the open which may give rise to a number of diseases. “We live in thatched huts and we do not have bathrooms, however, if the Samiti builds some for us, it will be of huge help,” added Abdul.
Dr. Ramesh N M, a General Physician from Bangalore said that toilets are an integral part of a household as open defecation and improper sanitation can cause a number of health problems.
“There can be chances of diarrhoea, dysentery and other kinds of diseases which can be spread through water and air, when there is lack of proper disposal.”
Narsimha Rao, assistant engineer at BBMP, Mahadevapura Zone said that the Palike isn’t aware of any cases of open defecation since it is not reported.
“We have to go and inspect the area first,” said Rao.