Is This Too Much To Ask Of A Smart City?

Public-toilets
Image used for representation only

 

Ask any Pune woman and she will give you the same answer…

Using a public toilet in the city is nothing short of a nightmare and they would do anything to avoid the sheer filth, and unhygienic conditions at each of these spots.

Most of the e-toilets and mobile toilets are non functional, inaccessible or quite unsafe, say women in the city.

We spoke to several women in the city who brought to light the critical issues that must be resolved forthwith. There is little point in calling this city ‘Smart’ if even such a basic requirement is not met.

To mark the International Women’s Day (March 8), the city administration this month launched two major initiatives for women, Tejaswini buses and Upgraded toilets in different parts of the city. The initiatives were undertaken as part of the smart city project. While the bus for women attracted good response from the varsity, women seemed skecptical about using the public toilets.

Mayor Mukta Tilak inaugurated the toilets on the occasion of International Women’s Day.  

We want to make public toilets accessible and safe for women. This project is different, as it is also committed towards protecting the environment by using discarded shipping containers. We plan to build 20 such toilets in the Smart City area and eventually reach the 100 mark, Tilak said, according to a report.

“I have never thought of going to the university toilet, even when I really needed it. I think, it is better to control and find a hygienic toilet, rather than getting yourself infected,” says Sanyukta Mukherjee, student.

It was a nightmare to enter the loo.. I don’t understand the logic behind this, you have dedicated housekeeping staff, you have funds, then why can’t you clean the toilets regularly and allow access to all?

Also, why does not everyone ensure to leave the toilets clean after use, so that others can use it too!” she exclaims.

Image for representation only

Talking about a recent experience at a bus stand, Shipra Jhangiani, Home Baker, complained, “After this incident, I never dared to think of using any public toilets. I was at the bus stand waiting to board my bus to Mumbai, hence, I thought of visiting the loo before taking the bus.

The toilets were occupied, hence I was waiting at the door and moments later, I saw a drunk man coming out of the female washroom. It was shocking. This is so terrifying and disgusting and no one prevents all this.

“It seems they just have built it for the sake of it. There is no security, no maintenance, nothing. With experiences like this, is it possible to ever use such e-toilets that are just placed at any nook and corner just for the sake of it?,” she adds.

Sharing her experience, Kiran Sahni, Entrepreneur, says, “I had bought a space at this event organised at the university ground. We stay here for more than seven hours, hence washrooms are a necessity here. While there were a few bio-toilets brought in by the organisers, they weren’t accessible, as they were locked from the outside.

This often happens at petrol pumps, bus pit-stops and government hospitals. Either they are locked for the staff, or the conditions are sickening. It is better to find a nearest hotel or mall (some of which are also horrible) and use them, she adds.

Neha Singh, a Dietician at a city based hospital echoed similar concerns, “We definitely have a toilet exclusively reserved for the hospital staff only.

However, the relatives or friends of the patient and often the patients themselves, do not care about proper sanitation and cleanliness while using the toilets. The conditions are bad even though they are being cleaned regularly. And mind you, this is at a private hospital.

“People just need to learn some manners first and be hygienic!,” she quips.

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#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.

Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur

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