Scarcity of public toilets, poor maintence irk denizens
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, March 3: The condition of public toilets in Guwahati city is degrading day by day. In spite of the launch of much hyped “Swach Bharat Abhiyan” by Prime Minister rendra Modi, its realization remains a far cry for the Guwahatians. City dwellers have been found lacking in even the general etiquettes of cleanliness. It is unfortute that while other societies are racing ahead with modern tools and technology, ours is still to learn the basics of hygiene. And the public toilet system in Guwahati is a tale of this grim reality.
The public toilets have remained unhygienic since time immemorial. Moreover, people choose “to do” under the open sky rather than going inside and flushing water. Conditions have become so pathetic that food stalls set up near these toilets have been forced to relocate to a “safer distance” due to the pungent smell coming out from toilets and adjacent areas. People, no doubt, share a part of the blame for the deteriorating condition of the toilets. The administration too has been shrugging off its responsibility in maintaining the toilets regularly. Regular cleaning and running water facilities continue to elude the few toilets that exist in the city.
Due to the limited number of public toilets in the city, people often face difficulties at times of emergency. “Government and district administration should make sure that public toilets are sufficient in numbers so that any person can access it at any place,” a government employee told to The Sentinel.
“It is because of the scarcity of the toilets that people usually urite at roadside,” a senior citizen said. For this nuisance, the pedestrians are not able to use the pavements in certain areas.
Talking to The Sentinel, Ramel Das, a social activist said, “One cannot walk near the Six Mile flyover because of the filthy smell that has become a hallmark of the area. Living in this civilized society of 21st century, one must understand and follow the minimum standards of decency.”
“When we pass by the Machkhowa public toilet, one experiences a foul smell in the air which has posed serious health concerns,” Raju Saikia, a pedestrian said. He further added, “We are totally fed up of the condition of public toilets. In case anyone uses it, he will never do so in future due to the bad experience.”
A shopkeeper near the ‘Pay & Use’ toilet in Chandmari said, “We hardly notice any maintence of this toilet. Stinking environment in and around the toilet have rendered it unusable for the public.”
Lack of proper sanitation and no proper sewage system makes these public toilets worse. As an outcome, the situation becomes really abomible for the locals. The locals residing nearby, along with the pedestrians find it unbearable due to leakage of the tanks.
Lack of toilets and pathetic condition of the existing ones has caused major inconveniance for women. “The public toilets in the city do not have a women friendly environment. It is not safe for women as most of the public toilets do not have electricity,” Urmila th of Chandmari said. Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has set up the e-toilets in Maligaon, Zoo Road Tiniali and some other places. But the question is have they served the purpose for which they have been set up. The e-toilet installed near the Zoo Road Tiniali trekker stand locked most of time for reasons unknown to the people. Moreover these toilets are found to be surrounded by garbage heaps.