HYDERABAD: November 19 is observed as World Toilet Day. Though Hyderabad has been termed as one of the most liveable cities in the country, it lags far behind when it comes to creating public convenience for its citizens. In the recent Swachh Survekshan, the city fared poorly in the rankings due to lack of public toilets.
Greater Hyderabad has over 9,000 km of roads with about one crore population. Ideally, there should be one public toilet for every kilometre stretch of road in the city, as per the norms of Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation (CPHEEO), working under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). In reality, the city does not have more than 360 public toilets as on date. Even those that exist, which were constructed a few years ago, are in abysmal condition, they are either defunct, lack maintenance, or have irregular water supply. As a result, people shudder to even think of going into them. It means that GHMC has made no serious efforts in the last one or two years to construct additional public toilets.
Last year, around 3,000 new temporary public toilets which were installed on the footpaths in the city were not opened to the public, many of them were damaged as they were not provided with water and sewerage connections. They were used for putting up banners and flexis. People are seen urinating around the locked toilets, defeating the whole point of installing the toilets.
Except for Sulabh Toilets which are maintained fairly well, many of the existing GHMC public toilets are filled with dirt and foul smell emanates from them. At different places, toilets were found damaged or their doors stolen by miscreants. For over one crore population, the city does not have more than 360 public toilets as against the required 9,000-plus.
As per the details, of the just over 360 public toilets, some 230 belong to Sulabh/BOT, 97 prefabricated toilets, few Loo Cafes located mostly in Hitech city and over 35 She Toilets. Apart from these, GHMC recently started mobile toilets.
Hardly any toilets for women
The male-female ratio for toilet availability should be 1:1 but there are hardly any toilets for women. Women face a lot of inconvenience because there are not enough toilets for them. Even if there are any public toilets for women across the city, they are in deplorable states. Further, these toilets are maintained by attendants who are mostly men.
Often, women find it uncomfortable to even use them. The reasons for women not using the public toilets is that they are in unhygienic condition (92 per cent), insufficient water availability (70 per cent), foul smell (62 per cent), caretaker being male (58 per cent), feeling of insecurity (40 per cent) etc.
Surprisingly, despite the poor maintenance of public toilets and the lack of public use, the civic body has attained ODF ++ (open defecation free) status. The ODF++ status is awarded to cities with smart toilets, no open drainage and adequate sewerage treatment plants (STPs).
PUBLIC TOILETS FILTHY, STINKING
Even those toilets that exist are in abysmal condition, they are either defunct, lack maintenance, or have irregular water supply. Except for Sulabh Toilets which are maintained fairly well, many of the existing GHMC public toilets are filled with dirt and foul smell emanates from them. At different places, toilets were found damaged or their doors stolen by miscreants.