Protests at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have started troubling senior citizens living in Delhi's Munirka Vihar, not for the noise or the traffic but strangers knocking on their doors to use the washrooms. The lack of public convenience booths in the locality has also resulted in people relieving themselves in the open, causing a foul smell in the entire area, local residents said, claiming that they have approached authorities on several occasions but in vain.
The Senior Citizen Forum of the locality has now written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighting the issue, demanding the construction of a public convenience booth to avoid open defecation on Bada Gang Nath Marg near Rock Garden, Munirka, and also the installation of CCTV cameras for security reasons.
In the letter dated December 12, 2022, the forum noted that the DDA flats in Munirka Vihar were mostly allotted to central government employees in 1977 and most of the residents now are senior citizens. The situation worsens during protests at the university, which is located just opposite Munirka Vihar, locals claimed.
As there is no public convenience booth, police personnel and media persons stationed outside the university often knock on the doors of the people living there while some relieve themselves in the open, they alleged, adding that residents are also concerned about the health impact of the open defecation.
Speaking to PTI, forum member P N Malhotra said the concerns had been raised several times but nothing was ever done to address them. Due to the lack of convenience booths, women police personnel and media persons face major problems. "Men can relieve themselves in open. Let me stress that this is also wrong. But when there are no other option, they can. But women journalists stationed outside the university for hours have no option but to knock on our doors," he said.
"We try to help them, but we also feel unsafe because the security situation outside is not great. It is necessary to instal CCTV cameras in the area and build a convenience booth," Malhotra added. Another resident, K C Pathak, also highlighted the issue and said a well-maintained public convenience booth for police personnel and media persons needs to be built outside the JNU gate as the protest often continue for many days.
Besides, the facility will also come to the use of passersby as there is no other public convenience booth in the area, she said. Protests at JNU and deployment of police personnel have become an usual phenomenon, causing inconvenience to residents of the locality, especially when traffic is diverted.
Stressing on the need for CCTV surveillance, resident Satwant Kaur said it was very much required as many residents in the area are senior citizens and some even live alone. "Their houses are prone to theft and burglary," she said, adding that "CCTV surveillance would instill fear in the minds of outlaws."
In the letter to the prime minister, the Senior Citizen Forum wrote, "Our police force in Delhi works day and night to safeguard the security of our worthy VIPs, senior citizens and residents of Delhi. Our police force deserves your appreciation and reward of encouragement to boost their efficiency. The letter also mentioned other demands of the people in the locality such as covering open drains and verification of vendors. It asked for "installation of a small LED screen in the police booth near D Street gate of DDA flats, Munirka, and 85 CCTV cameras in D, E, F and G blocks."
There should be "verification of venders, domestic helps, car cleaners etc. in our colony. Marking for parking of cars in our colony to provide way for ambulances and fire tenders. Construction of broken wall in D street," the forum said in the letter.
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