New Delhi: “I love going to Gateway of India for my evening walk, but one fine day that same place became like a nightmare for me. I was there with my two children when suddenly my 5-year-old daughter felt the need of using a toilet. When we entered the facility, we realised the dark reality of using a public toilet – it was extremely unclean and unhygienic to be used. But since it was an emergency, we had no other option. Few days after this incident, my child was diagnosed with urinal infection, thankfully it got cured within few days, but after this incident, I never went back to one of my favourite places in the city – the gateway of India,” said 37-year-old Sunita Uphadhyay, who faced this issue a month ago at the Gateway. Not just Sunita, there are more than 600,000 people out there who voted in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation survey that happened last year saying that the existing toilet facilities near the Gateway are unclean and unfit to be used by anyone. After finding the results of the survey, the civic body decided that a new women-friendly toilet in the same vicinity will be built on priority.
And now the gateway has finally got the facility – it has 10 toilet seats exclusively for women including one for handicap users. Along with these features, the toilet is equipped with modern women-friendly facilities such as a changing room, a baby feeding station, sanitary vending machine and an incinerator. Along with this there is a waiting area and a water cooler facility.
The toilet has been built by Samatech Foundation in partnership with Round table India and Ladies circle India on the erstwhile location of a MCGM chowk, which was earlier used as a store room. The maintenance work for this toilet facility has been handed over to BMC. Speaking to NDTV about how they plan to maintain it, a senior official said,
We have appointed a housekeeping staff so that the facility can be maintained properly. The on-ground staff will ensure that the toilets are fit for usage at all times. This step has been taken so that no public toilet in the city can get the tag of the ‘dirtiest’ toilet.
Currently, out of 11,000 toilet seats in Mumbai, mere 3,914 are for women. Last year, BMC also floated tenders to revamp public toilets in the city as they were facing a crisis, but till not only a few contractors have come forward to show interest for the reconstruction projects, putting BMC in a fix. Since the beginning, community toilets have not been in the greatest shape, as a majority of the city’s public toilets are 10-12 years old and are barely functional or maintained properly. What the city needs on priority are a solution that will help enhance the community sanitation scenario.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.