With the Aam Aadmi Party promising a change in our lives, here’s a glance at the problem which has beset us forever. As in every other sphere, here too, the things remain tilted heavily in favour of men. As against 4000 public toilets for men, there are just 350 for women in the National Capital. We ask a few young women in the city to give us their take on the issue.

DAKSHITA KANT

Jesus and Mary College

You’ll run into extremely foul smelling men’s urinals around various corners, but women’s washrooms are hard to come by. And what’s worse is that those you do find are mostly in terrible condition, the main issue being hygiene and lack of maintenance.

TARINI VERMA

Lady Shri Ram College

A public restroom at a very basic level should be clean, have soap that’s usable and not a reused cake that I would never touch because of hygiene issues. Toilet paper would be too much to hope or ask for I think, but at least a tap in working condition. Most of the restrooms, I have been to, either have no water or too much water everywhere. And the basics like soap are rarely there. At least I haven’t found a public restroom here that offers all these in decent condition. Another major problem I have faced is the lack of proper light and broken latches, which then also becomes a security issue, especially at night.

PRATIVA BORAH

Ambedkar University

“I’m generally not very likely to use the public restrooms in Delhi at all but if I have no choice, I do seek out the paid Sulabh facilities. Those are the marginally better ones, although they too lack maintenance in many places and are quite dirty. Compared to the unpaid ones, they are at least usable, but given a choice I would still go to a mall. I’ve also noticed that many times the quality of the products they use is not very good. There’s a pungent smell. And I have always found public restrooms waterlogged.

RAJSHRI SANCHETI

Maitreyi College

First of all, there need to be more of them and in places which are accessible and hygienic. More effort is needed to maintain them and keep them clean. My college is a government college and even there the condition of the restrooms is pathetic. But yes, I do believe that there is also a need for some basic civic sense among those who use these facilities. A lot of people won’t flush, will leave the tap on, throw things on the floor. We need to do our bit too for this to work.

MEGHNA SHRIVASTAV

Jamia Millia Islamia

One thing I’ve noticed in some places is that they have a problematic sewage system. I remember I once saw the pipes just outside the facility leading straight to an open drain nearby. They were also not the standard WC pipes I’ve seen otherwise. The restroom in the Sarojini Nagar market has a similar issue. And yes, the lack of cleanliness inside most restrooms is the biggest problem. In Delhi, you’ll always know when there’s a washroom nearby because of the smell. Need I say more? I was in Kolkata a while back and the restrooms I went to there were very clean because they were managed by a particular community around them. I think if people volunteer and work together, these facilities can be better maintained because the government just seems to build them and then leave them to their own destiny.

(Compiled by Nandini D. Tripathy)