The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is planning to build 4,200 toilet blocks (seats) in Mumbai in a year, of which over 1,000 will be for women.
The city currently has only 10,760 toilet blocks, against a requirement of 34,000.
In a meeting held in the civic head office on November 3, 39 women’s welfare groups demanded that the city needs clean and hygienic toilet facilities for women.
Chairman of the civic standing committee Rahul Shewale, who attended the meeting, said: “We are planning to construct 4,200 toilet blocks and there will be provision for ladies urinals too.”
The civic body has decided to form a committee comprising solid waste management (SWM) department officials and members from women’s welfare groups. “They will survey localities where there is a need for women’s toilets. We will decide the numbers as per the requirement, but they will definitely be beyond 1,000,” added Shewale.
Ratna Mane from the Mahila Mandal Federation, one of the 39 women’s welfare groups, said: “Working women avoid public toilets for many reasons. Most of the time men handling the toilet misbehave with women and charge for urinals, when it should be free. Besides, the toilets are unhygienic, and don’t have dustbins.”
The association of 39 groups has asked the BMC administration for short-term as well as long-term solutions. “The BMC should provide dustbins in all toilets.
Sanitary napkins should be provided, and the toilets should be run by women’s welfare groups. Besides, boards stating ‘Free urinal for women’, should clearly be displayed, said Mane. One of the long-term measures they have sought is that there should be a public toilet at every 2km.
Pramila Sharma, coordinator of Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA), said: “The BMC seems to be positive about our problems, but if they fail to do anything, we will come onto the roads and agitate.”
Bhalchandra Patil, chief engineer, SWM, said: “We are planning to build toilets under the ongoing World Bank-aided Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project (MSDP) but the number has not been finalised yet.”