People are happy, while mixed reactions come from restaurants and eateries of South Delhi over the ‘toilet for all’ order.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Tuesday issued directions to all hotels, restaurants and eateries in its jurisdiction to make their washrooms accessible to the public from April 1 onwards. The move gave anyone who pays Rs 5 an access to washrooms of even five-star hotels in South Delhi.
Hindustan Times on Wednesday visited some markets in South Delhi to get the reactions on the ground. Visitors, especially women, were very happy with the decision.
Akashni Saxena, who works at a firm near Greater Kailash 1 M Block, said this will help women immensely. “Getting a public toilet can be a big headache at times, and even if you find it, sanitation is a big issue,” she said.
According to South Corporation, the hotels and restaurants will also have to put up display boards informing the public about the facilities. The managements of these restaurants have been given the discretion to charge up to Rs 5 per usage to cover their costs towards maintenance and cleaning.
Rama Chakraborty, a Chittaranjan Park resident, said Rs 5 is an affordable amount if one gets a clean washroom. “It will be a big boon. Even now we use washrooms in restaurants, but this will make it a formal thing,” she said.
The civic agency is working on the modalities of the move and finalising the amount that can be imposed as penalty on defaulters.
Some restaurants that HT spoke to on Wednesday, felt the “diktat” was not in their favour. Lalit Chopra of the New Minar Restaurant at GK 1 M Block market said this move could create chaos.
“We don’t deny people, especially women, if they want to use the restroom. However, this diktat will create chaos as anyone and everyone will come in. The civic body should focus more on building more functional toilets,” Chopra said.
The National Restaurant Association of India, too, wasn’t happy with the decision.
“As long as the order does not violate the restaurant’s right of admission and does not pose a security threat, it can be implemented. Once we get the official notification, we will be taking a legal opinion on the same,” said Rahul Singh, honorary secretary of the association.
However, there as some others who claimed it was fine. Ramayan Singh, an employee with Sagar Ratna in Defence Colony market, said, “Currently too, we don’t stop people from using the toilet on our premises in case of an emergency. It is the human thing.”
There were others who said they won’t even charge the optional Rs 5 per person. “How can you take money from someone who is answering nature’s call?” asked Dheeraj, an employee at a popular GK watering hole.
There are 580 public urinals and 480 toilets in South Delhi. Out of the 480, only 140 can be used by women. These include toilets in Lajpat Nagar, Green Park, Safdarjung Development Area, Rajouri Garden, Bhikaji Cama Place and Nehru place.