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Mumbai: Praja Foundation launches a report on civic issues

The Praja Foundation has recently launched a report on civic issues in Mumbai, highlighting key problem areas.

Mumbai: Praja Foundation launches a report on civic issues
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The Praja Foundation has recently launched a report on civic issues in Mumbai, highlighting key problem areas such as water and sanitization, and the impact it has on human lives, especially during a pandemic.

The NGO has claimed that as of June 24, three of the five wards that have the highest number of containment zones in Mumbai also had most complaints related to poor civic management such as water shortage, bad state of public toilets, overflowing drains and irregular collection of garbage between January and December 2019. These wards are L (Kurla), M-East (Govandi) and S (Bhandup).

The team of Mumbai Live got in touch with Nitai Mehta, founder trustee of the Praja Foundation, who shared his opinions on the report and the analysis made by his organization. Speaking about the goal of the study, Mehta stated “Our organization has been doing studies pertaining to civic issues in Mumbai since the last ten years. We have come out with a report every year, except the report normally comes out in the month of April. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we could not release the report earlier so have released the report yesterday."

He further shared that, "The idea of the report is to look at what the corporations and the elected representatives have been doing as far as the services of the city is concerned. In this specific report, because of the extraordinary situation, we are in, we tried to see how the services vis-à-vis where the containment areas are. It is just one part of the report where we have got a lot of coronavirus cases coming out. We found that there was a certain amount of correlation where the basic services like water supply, sewage, access to toilets, the density of population are high, that is where we are seeing a lot of COVID-19 cases coming up.”

Commenting about the second part of the report, Mehta said, “There has also been data on the access of women to community toilets,” Speaking of water supply, he added, “In the slums, the people can access water through a common tap. The cost of water in slums is much higher compared to a person living in a residential building which has its own access to water through water-pipes in their homes,”

On being asked about WASH which roughly translates to Water-Sanitation-Hygiene during the coronavirus crisis, Mehta said, “We believe that we should have access to these basic amenities all the time and not just during the pandemic. However, especially during this period, we require these amenities. In our country, we only react to situations, till there is a fire we do not react to the situation. What Praja has been trying to do for so many years is to make people understand the impact of a situation like a coronavirus when the basic necessities of people are not in place. The impact then becomes much greater. Therefore, we need to take the necessary steps now because if we are to experience something similar in future, it will be better tackled,”

Mumbai Live further asked Nitai Mehta on the key issues that should be addressed by the administration, he responded stating, “The administration is doing their work quite well at the moment. Considering the circumstances, they are doing their work well but I think we should look not just to tackle the emergency but we should look at the long run to see that it does not occur and if it occurs, it is handled in a much better way than before. This should be a lesson for us to learn where we understand that we should not neglect the daily issues of life.”

The Praja Foundation has not only been focusing on civic issues but has been working on reports regarding urban governance as well.

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