The three municipal corporations of Delhi claim they are leaving no stone unturned to make public toilets clean and safe but the reality is entirely different.
While the city prepares to observe World Toilet Day on Wednesday, there is a huge gap between the number of households and sanitary facilities.
After PM Narendra Modi announced the Swachh Bharat Mission, the three corporations started a 100-day cleanliness and sanitation drive. They said toilets were repaired and cleaned during the drive.
But most toilets are so poorly maintained that people are forced to urinate in public. The condition in slums and rural areas is even worse as most toilets are closed or have never been cleaned.
This is despite the corporations claiming they have started a massive drive to ensure that all toilet blocks are properly maintained and cleaned on a daily basis.
Hindustan Times inspected many toilets and found many waterless urinals beyond use.
Locals alleged that corporation’s sanitation staffs rarely visited these toilets. “It is a busy market and the pots are choked and overflowing. There is no water to clean it. During the drive, the market association cleaned the toilets,” said Satya, member of market association Hari Nagar near Ashram Chowk.
There were many urinals in posh South Delhi that were properly maintained but found closed. Many of the community toilet complexes and urinal blocks of corporations were found closed.
But there are some positive changes too. “The condition of public toilets is very bad. Toilets in schools are also not maintained but fortunately after the PM’s initiative, the corporation started taking care,” said Zuber Khan, programme director, Sakshi, an NGO that build toilets at MCD schools while educating children and communities about preventive medicine and hygiene.
The north corporation has 1,180 toilets and 542 community toilet complexes, while the East Corporation has 289 toilets and 101 CTCs. The south corporations has a total of 1,688 urinals.
Senior officials claim they had asked the team to survey important public places that need urinals. All three corporations are planning to construct more public toilets. Meanwhile, urinals in all municipal schools have been repaired.
An official said that change is happening but slowly. “There are problems with waterless urinals. We have taken control of urinals operated by private companies. Our team is inspecting and checking the status of all toilets. A lot of repair work is required. Mission to keep the city clean can be achieved only with people’s participation,” said Manish Gupta, commissioner, SDMC and EDMC.