Slums dwellers have power and phone, not toilets

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New Delhi, March 21: Is hygiene low on our priority list? Yes, in India, personal hygiene is not given much importance even though it is source of many ailments. This fact, at least true in Indian slums, emerged in the census data released today.

One-third of identified slum households in India do not have toilets, but a sizeable percentage of the dwellings have electricity and mobile phone connections and televisions, says a report based on the 2011 census data.

The 'Report on housing stock, amenities and assets in slums based on house listing and housing census 2011' , released on Thursday and it brings out hitherto unknown facets about slum households.

The report says 53.2 percent households avail banking service in slums. It also notes that about 70 percent slum households have television while 18.7 percent possess radio or transistor.

It says 72.7 percent slum households have telephones of which 4.4 percent have land line connections, 63.5 percent have mobiles and 4.8 percent have both.

But only 66 percent households have toilet facility within the premises.

"Every third household (34 percent) has no latrine facility within the premises," the report says and adds that 18.9 percent slum households defecate in the open and 15.1 percent use public latrines.

The report says 10.4 percent households have computers/laptops of which 3.3 percent have internet connection (as against 9.3 percent in non-slum areas).

It says more than 90 percent of slum households use electricity as the main source of lighting, 8.2 percent kerosene while 0.7 percent have other source of lighting and 0.5 percent have no lighting.

The report says 81 percent slum households have bathrooms or enclosures without roof.

It says 74 percent of slum households use tap as the main source of drinking water with about 20 percent using hand pump or tube well.

"Source of drinking water is available to 56.7 percent of households within the premises in slums; 31.9 percent have the sources located within 100 metres and 11.4 percent have to travel more than 100 metres to fetch drinking water," the report says.

According to the census, there are 19 cities where more than 25 percent of households live in slums. Of these, in Visakhapatnam, Jabalpur, Mumbai, Vijayawada and Meerut, more than 40 percent of the people were slum dwellers.

"In all, 1.73 crore census houses have been reported in the house listing blocks categorised as slums in India, comprising 1.37 crore slum households," says the report.

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