Mumbai: The Maharashtra government today informed the Bombay High Court that about 4500 toilets would be built for the pilgrims visiting the holy Pandharpur town in Solapur district for the Asadi Ekadashi festival on July 9 amid reports of manual scavenging prevailing there.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by Campaign Against Manual Scavenging which alleged that the inhuman practice of collecting human excreta continued even today as the number of toilets was very less in Pandharpur which is visited by lakhs of pilgrims during the festival.
The court had earlier expressed anguish over the state government`s apathy towards manual scavengers in Pandharpur and said it was shocking to know that such practice continued unabated till date.
The Deputy Secretary of Urban Development Department filed an affidavit saying that 654 toilets would be built by the civic body in Pandharpur and another 1500 temporary and mobile toilets made of bamboo sheets would also come up.
Additionally, the temple trust would construct 500 toilets and Public Works Department would built 2000 temporary toilets and Pilgrim Development Plan body 116.
The government also said that it was considering to build 1200 toilets on the land belonging to Railways and State Transport Undertaking. It urged the court to ask these two bodies to coordinate with the state in building toilets.
The court, adjourning the hearing to July 1, said it was also necessary to clean the rivers flowing near Pandharpur as well as clean the entire city before the festival begins.
A bench of Justice Abhay Oka also asked the state to inform on next occasion what facilities it would provide during the next festival of Kartikeye Ekadesh in November.