Begin typing your search...
Women avoid ill-maintained corporation public toilets
Eight months after the Greater Chennai Corporation promised members of Aval team of Dhagam Foundation, an initiative that helps women express themselves, to remove the two e-toilets located at Saidapet that were being misused, the toilets continue to lie there, attracting alcoholics and causing inconvenience to the people living there.
Besides the lack of basic facilities, the lack of supervision and maintenance is another reason why most women find using the minimum available public toilets very difficult.
In a study conducted by Aval (between January and June 2018), on the public toilets which are scattered across 15 Chennai Corporation Zones, it was found that, although the toilet structure appeared to be in sound condition, it was unsanitary for use.
“At one toilet block, the unsanitary condition appeared to stem from the poor maintenance of latrines. It appears that a blocked toilet was continued to use, further worsening the situation. there are many toilets which had people defecating outside of the latrine,” said Govind Murugan, convener of Dhagam Foundation, while releasing the report of the survey (after visiting 613 public toilets) at a public hearing called ‘Kakoos-a-kanom’.
Stating that the main objectives in conducting this survey were to identify the quality of existing public toilets in Chennai, he said, “Revised tender documents place heavy emphasis on the creation of more toilets, rather than the overall objective of achieving a sanitary environment in the city. Simply providing more public toilets without proper planning, poor design, haphazard location, insufficient funding and a lack of proper management, monitoring and enforcement strategies are unlikely to improve sanitation in Chennai.”
While inspecting the situation at bus stands, we found that Perambur bus stand, which is extensively used by the old and the young alike, does not have a proper toilet. “A signature campaign for the establishment of a toilet in the bus stand was conducted between July 19 and July 23, which witnessed over 2,500 commuters supporting the campaign. We took this to the notice of the Zonal Officer, who assured that a toilet will be built within three months. However, till date, nothing seems to be done about it,” said a member of the team.
Besides, it was found that the contractors hired by the Chennai Corporation for the maintenance of the toilets, get their prescribed salaries but illegally outsource their work to the poor and the old residents near the toilets who, in turn, charge the people for the ‘free – to – use’ toilets because they’re not paid by the contractors.
“The Act against Human Waste Handling by Humans was brought in 2003, but it’s disheartening to see the same happening, that too with their hands, even after 15 years after the Act has been institutionalised. The cleaners are not given proper financial resources to procure cleaning materials, he added.