Bengaluru

Just 600 public toilets for a population of one crore

An eco-friendly public toilet at Cubbon Park.— Photo: G.R.N. Somashekar  

Turn away, cover your nose and make a dash away from the spot every time you come across someone urinating in public, oblivious to the discomfort he is causing around him. But answering ‘nature’s call’ in Bengaluru is no easy task. The burgeoning city has a meagre 600 public and community toilets to cater to a population of around one crore.

Though the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) would like to link the menace of public urination and open defecation to the migrant population who do not have homes in the city, many citizens blame the lack of maintenance of existing public toilets for pushing people to relieve themselves on the road side.

“The public toilet near the BDA complex in Indiranagar was extremely clean. But a few years ago, the wash basin and commode went missing,” said a local resident.

A common grouse is that people avoid public toilets because they are seldom well-maintained. “It is like an open toilet,” said a resident of Whitefield.

BBMP officials promise to increase the number of public and community toilets. “A total of 250 locations have been identified where toilets with approximately 1,500 seats will be set up. These locations see a lot of floating population, like in bus stands and commercial areas,” said a BBMP official. Sensitisation and awareness programmes for construction workers and even builders are also in the pipeline, he added.

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Cleaning railway tracks

It is not just the road sides that are treated like open toilets. Railway tracks too bear the brunt, prompting railway authorities to team up with the BBMP to clean up the most visible tracks in the city, including the track at along the Ring Road at Hebbal and at K.R. Puram.