Posh or poor locality, public toilets in Delhi lie in shambles

Updated - October 18, 2016 03:08 pm IST

Published - October 12, 2014 10:19 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Public toilets located in a well-maintained area of Delhi do not guarantee them even basic parameters of upkeep like “water availability and hygiene”, according to a survey on public toilets in the Lodhi Road area. It was conducted by a group of advocates and social workers.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal, who was part of the team, explained: “Although the area surveyed is one of the posh localities of the city, the public toilets there were found to be in unhygienic condition. Worse there are no public toilets for the differently-abled. Except for the Lodhi Garden facility, no other facility was hygienic. The sanitary fittings are also not being maintained properly. There is also a shortage of maintenance staff.”

Private contractors

The group also found that many caretakers were working under exploitative arrangements of private contractors.

“It appears that the agencies are focusing exclusively on the advertising revenue, while maintenance has taken a back seat,’’ noted the survey report.

The team inspected six toilet facilities in the area. The one near Jodhpur Officers’ Hostel on Pandara Road “looks like a toilet complex, but has been virtually converted into a garbage bin. The structure is neither workable as a garbage bin nor remains a toilet complex. It is sheer wastage of public money. However, the advertising space purpose is being served quite well by the same.”

The public convenience near Pandara Road, maintained by the NDMC was, however, found to be relatively cleaner.

“The peon was found mopping the floor when the visit was made. The floor was largely clean, except for small amount of litter inside the ladies’ cubicle. The flushing system inside the gents toilet was, however, non-functional. The toilet was not differently-abled friendly,’’ noted the survey.

Public convenience near Dyal Singh College was found to have a very small facility with no separate basin area and from the road, one enters the cubicle.

“The floor of the ladies’ cubicle was soiled and muddy. The flush-tank was found broken. There was no water in the wash basin. The gents’ toilet was stinking and the flushing system was non-functional. The toilet was not differently-abled friendly,’’ stated the report.

The ladies’ toilet at Mausam Bhavan public convenience was locked with a non-functional water connection.

“While interacting with the caretaker, it was revealed that he was being paid Rs.5,000 a month by a private contractor for a 24-hour service. GraphisAds, the company that has been entrusted with maintenance, has apparently engaged a private contractor for procuring the services of the caretaker. The only effective function being served by this facility is that of an advertising space,’’ the report stated.

The Lodhi Garden facility was found to be satisfactory. “The public convenience near Durgabai Deshmukh College, Lodhi Road, similar in structure to the toilet facilities near Dyal Singh College and Mausam Bhavan, had imposing banners of “Swachch Bharat Abhiyan” on all sides, encouraging people to use public-toilets instead of urinating in the open. However, in marked contrast, both the ladies’ and gents’ toilets were found locked,’’ highlighted the report.

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