Raju Bairwa, a daily wage worker comes to Jaipur everyday from Dausa district looking for work, but on most days he fails to get work and has to stay back in the city.
Standing outside the night shelter near Khasa Kothi waiting for his turn to get inside, he tells this correspondent that he usually goes back to his village, but at times he stays back to look for work the next day.
“I get free food, a bed to sleep in and a quilt for the cold night at the night shelter, but I have to use the pay toilets to relieve myself,” he says.
“If I had money then I would gone back to my village and I have no money to use the pay toilets, so I am forced to defecate in the open.”
There are many people like Bairwa, who spend nights at rain baseras or night shelters and are forced to defecate in the open.
With the onset of winter, the Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) has set up night shelters at a number of places across the city for the poor and the destitute, but entry into the night shelters is given only on producing a photocopy of ID card.
Many beggars and poor, who do not have ID cards, spend nights on pavements in the chilly weather.
Suraj, another daily wage worker at Khasa Kothi says, “There is sulabh sauchalaya near the night shelter, but if anybody has relief themselves at night when the pay toilet is closed, they have no other option but to defecate in the open.”
Sulabh Shauchayala opens at 4.30-5am and closes by 10-11pm.
Ramjilal Meena from Sawai Madhopur at a night shelter outside the SMS hospital says the rates mentioned at Sulabh Sauchalaya is Rs 2 for using the lavatory, Rs 3 for bath, Rs 5 for using a western commode and using the urinal is free.
“But the people who man the pay toilet charge Rs 5 for using the lavatory, Rs 10 for a cold water bath and Rs 20 for hot water bath,” he says.
“At night, the pay toilets are closed and people are forced to defecate in open.”
Meena suggests that the rain basera in-charges should be given token by the JMC and people at the night shelter should be given these token to use lavatory at sulabh sauchalaya free of cost, as this facility is for poor and needy.
There is sulabh sauchalaya at most of the temporary night shelters and where there is no public toilet, the JMC has set up mobile toilets.
HT visited a night shelter outside the airport in Sanganer neighbourhood of the city.
Kalu Lal from Bandikui staying at the night shelter says through the facility is good, there is no water in the mobile toilet and it is so dirty that he prefers to defecate in the open early in the morning before the hustle bustle starts.
Kastur Chand, the guard at the night shelter says it is true that there is no water in the mobile toilet and toilets are so dirty that no one will use it.
“I have complained many times to the JMC, but nothing has happened so far,” he says.
The JMC has set up 28 night shelters of which 12 are temporary and remaining are permanent.
Banwari Lal Kumawat, of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties, Jaipur, said the condition of toilets at permanent night shelters is also not good.
It is good that most of the night shelters are set up near sulabh sauchalayas, but it should be made free of people staying at the night shelters where only the poor and homeless stay, he said.
“The mobile toilets set up outside a few night shelters should be regularly cleaned, so that people can use it.”