- Toilets under the EDMC and NDMC will get unique IDs in two months
- An app, a toll free number and a WhatsApp number will be also provided
- This is to improve status of public toilets in Delhi which has been poor
How often have we wished to use a public toilet, but the sheer unclean and unhygienic state has deterred us from doing so? While many Indians are guilty of relieving themselves in the open, the lack of public toilets or their ill-maintained condition is also a factor why many in India avoid using public toilets. Lack of cleanliness, water and stinking surroundings make many public toilets in urban areas absolutely unusable and Delhi is no exception. The civic bodies of East and North Delhi are now trying to better the public sanitation situation by providing unique identification numbers to public toilets under their jurisdiction.
The rank of all three of Delhi’s municipal corporations in the Swachh Survekshan 2017 was less than satisfactory and the non-maintenance of public toilets was a major reason why the capital fared poorly in the rankings. To encourage more citizen feedback on the status of public toilets, the East and North Delhi Municipal Corporations will assign unique identification numbers to public toilets. The number will be based on the ward and locality the toilet is situated in. The civic bodies are hopeful that the unique IDs will help to identify the toilet if any grievances are to be addressed.
We often receive complaints related to how some of the toilets are dirty and unclean and hence, unusable. But the large number of toilets we have under our jurisdiction make it very difficult for us to locate which toilet is in such a state. The unique IDs will make it easier for us to identify them and work on the complaints, said Ranbir Singh, Commissioner, East Delhi Municipal Corporation.
At present, the EDMC is responsible for maintaining over 500 toilets in the areas under its jurisdiction. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) is in charge of maintaining over 1,000 toilets. Both the civic bodies have struggled to maintain public toilets. Lack of manpower has been highlighted as the principal reason why civic bodies have not been able to keep toilets clean. Further, the inability to identify the toilets which are in an unusable state, was also a factor, why many public toilets remained unclean for days. The civic bodies are hopeful of solving that problem once the unique IDs are generated for each toilet.
Once the unique IDs are generated, we can locate a toilet on the basis of a complaint and dispatch workers to get it cleaned. This will speed up the process of cleaning up a toilet, especially the ones which are in dire condition, said Deepak Hastir, Additional Commissioner, NDMC.
The numbering system will be completed in two months, following which an app will be launched on behalf of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), as well as a WhatsApp number which can be used to register complaints. Maintenance of public toilets has been MCD’s bane. When the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan began in 2014, toilets across the three municipalities in Delhi were examined by officials from MCD and a overwhelming majority of these were reported to be in unusable conditions. In March 2017, a survey by the NGO ActionAid India also highlighted the status of nearly 200 ”Women only’ toilets from all over Delhi. Survey found all of these were unclean and devoid of water.
The MCD’s struggle with lack of manpower is a serious concern in maintenance of public toilets in Delhi.
The unique IDs will definitely make it easier for the civic bodies to identify toilets which need immediate attention, especially once people start using the app on a regular basis. The bigger problem for the MCD is to ensure a better structured availability of ready manpower and water supply to keep Delhi’s public toilets clean. As failure to address these will negates the very purpose of public toilets.