Bhubaneswar, Feb. 12: The special purpose vehicle for the smart city project has decided to do everything possible to make the stretch along Janpath between Bapuji Nagar and Satya Nagar - the town centre - clean. To ensure total cleanliness, it has planned to crack the whip on open defecation, sweep the area twice a day, place waste bins on the stretch and build public toilets.
To take forward its plan, the Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) has invited agencies submit their proposals to clean up the Bhubaneswar Town Centre District (BTCD), which had been selected for overall area-based development. The stretch houses 25 major slums of the city and the presence of railway tracks in the area have made open defecation a major problem.
"The BTCD, along the Janpath, will see an array of development under the smart city project in the near future. We are focusing on making this stretch the most attractive since many citizens had voted for its development during the smart city contest last year. Our first aim here is to make this stretch the cleanest," said a BSCL official.
He said they had invited requests for proposal for selection of an agency, which will prepare plans to make the stretch free from open defecation.
"Open defecation is rampant in this area since it houses a number of slums and the railway tracks. The agency will keep these facts in mind and prepare the plan accordingly," said the official.
The slum dwellers have a different take on the move.
"The municipality is distributing work orders for construction of toilets in households across the city except the slums on this stretch. It is evident there are many such houses here, which do not have latrines. If the administration won't help them, where will they defecate?" said Basti Suraksha Manch president Pratap Sahu.
A senior civic body official denied the allegation and said that people living in all the 25 slums would be relocated in four housing projects to come up along the town centre district.
Therefore, the civic body was building latrines in the city's slums.
Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said making the city free from open defecation was one of the important agendas of the civic body under the Swachh Bharat Mission.
"Our officials are in the process of preparing a sanitation strategy to make the city free from open defecation by March 2018. Since Janpath will be developed under the smart city project, the focus has shifted here," said Jena.