New Delhi: On November 18, when Priyanka Yadav, a resident of Rewari in Haryana, was out shopping with her friend in Punjabi market, when she needed to use a toilet. On looking around, walking for a mile, when she failed in her hunt to find a restroom for women, she decided to tap local expertise to locate the nearest toilet. After enquiring with the shopkeepers, Priyanka learnt that there was no toilet for women in the area. This took Priyanka by surprise, because Rewari was declared open defecation free (ODF) back in June 2017. To achieve ODF target, seven community toilets, 17 public toilets an 427 household toilets were constructed.
Stunned with the state of sanitation in public places, Priyanka wrote a letter to the administration, requesting them to build toilets for women at public places in the city. Saying “When nature calls, we need a toilet”, Priyanka also wrote a letter to the Chief Minister Office (CMO) in Chandigarh asking them to direct the administration to build toilets for women at public places.
I also wrote to the CMO Chandigarh. The CMO has directed Commissioner and Nagar Parishad’s Officer to submit a report regarding the same. Also, the existing toilets are occupied by anti-social elements, Priyanka told ANI.
Haryana: Priyanka a Rewari resident, has written to admn, urging them to build toilets at public spaces in city; says "Also wrote to CMO Chandigarh. Commissioner&Nagar Parishad's Executive Officer have been asked to submit report.Existing toilets occupied by anti-social elements" pic.twitter.com/SPC32RORvS
— ANI (@ANI) November 18, 2018
Another resident said that toilets were built in the area, but they are either captured by men for their antisocial activities or locked. Speaking to ANI, the resident said,
New toilets were built a while back, but were captured by men who are involved in activities like drinking alcohol and consuming drugs. Hence, it is not safe to go in there. Around eight toilets for women exist here but are locked.
Reacting to Priyanka’s plea, Manoj Yadav, Rewari’s Executive Officer, said, that toilets are being built for both women and men and more toilets will be built soon. He told ANI,
We have done the estimation and tenders have been passed. Work will begin soon. Wherever we are building toilets, we are building for women as well as men.
We have done the estimation and tenders have been passed. Work will begin soon. Wherever we are building toilets, we are building for women as well as men.: Manoj Yadav, Executive Officer Nagar Parishad, Rewari #Haryana (18.11.2018) pic.twitter.com/lW84wkPXin
— ANI (@ANI) November 18, 2018
Talking to NDTV about lack of toilets in markets, Manoj Yadav said,
We have toilets for both men and women in all major markets, except few like Punjabi market. While some markets are very old and lack space, in others, we don’t have municipal land. We are trying to figure out a solution.
Haryana’s Open Defecation Free Status
While a handful of states race towards attaining an open defecation free status (ODF) free by October 2, 2019, Haryana already declared both rural and urban areas free from the age old practice of open defecation in 2017. While rural areas were declared ODF on World Environment Day last year, urban counterparts were declared ODF on October 2, 2017. Though the state is now moving towards ODF plus which aims at sustaining the ODF tag by ensuring improved access to IHHLs (Individual Household Latrines), community and public toilets and ODF Plus Plus which includes liquid waste / fecal sludge and septage management (FSSM), Priyanka’s experience indicates the challenges ahead for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan even when ODF targets are met in terms of toilets constructed.
With inputs from ANI