Hidden among the billboards and advertisements, the only way for commuters at the Balmatta bus stop to find a public toilet there is to follow the stench.
The small public toilet – just three urinals and two toilets (Indian water closets) in the men’s loo – is only among a handful of public toilets existing in the city. Whether it is the outsourced toilets — large toilet bathing complexes near State Bank Bus Stand, Service Bus Stand, Old KSRTC Bus Stand, Ganapathi High School Road, Kankanady – or the MCC-run toilet at Hoige Bazaar, all bear similar indicators of stench and filth.
According to the MCC Health Department, around 15 public toilets had been constructed in the city, of which only six are operational. The person manning the toilet complex at the Service Bus Stand said while more than 500 people use the toilet on a daily basis, only two people are in charge of the collections and the cleaning. Similarly, three people are in charge of the cleaning at the State Bank toilet complex. As a result, a majority of users said the toilets were generally unclean with the floors covered with slush.
The situation is worse for the persons with disabilities. None of the above mentioned toilets have ramps, or any other disability-friendly installations. The State Bank bus stand toilet, for example, is approachable only after ascending a flight of steps. While the MCC, under their 3 per cent scheme for physically challenged has drawn up grand plans of building or upgrading toilets for those with special needs, none have so far been open to the public.
The MCC has initiated construction of ramps, and disabled-friendly toilets in Nehru Maidan (Rs. 2.23 lakh), Jeppu Market (Rs. 2.5 lakh), State Bank bus stand (Rs. 2.23 lakh), Panambur, Surathkal and Thannir Bhavi Beach (at Rs. 2.75 lakh each), among others. However, with officials saying that not one work neared completion, it would be a while before the physically challenged can attend nature’s call.