It is not surprising if the prime industrial area of Pune, Hinjewadi, is not connected to the sewer lines. It is not equally astonishing either to learn that Andheri East, a commercial hub of Mumbai, has only septic tanks to store sewage! If this is the case in major metros, at the rural level hardly 20% of the population has access to proper sanitation facility. Over and above, a large section of the population defecates under the sky, which is carried by the nallahs of the cities. The substantial network of the Indian sewer lines and drains were constructed during the colonial era and many others were added post independence. Nevertheless, growing urban populace, overloading of existing sewers and lack of maintenance have impacted the functioning and the very existence of these lines; in many cases the lines are choked or overflowing and in some cases, they have caved in leaving a huge crater on the road. Lack of proper sewer de-choking and preventive maintenance have led to corrosion too.
It’s quite disheartening that in India, the general perception on standards, in terms of food security, management and cleanliness, is much lower than in the First World nations. Johnson Thomas, Clean India Journal’s special correspondent, set out to explore the varying standards of hygiene and cleanliness in a few food chain outlets. The financial capital of the country, Mumbai, expected to have the best standards, seemed like an ideal place to carry out the investigation.