The state sanitation department is on a mission to ensure that every government office has clean toilets, not only for the staff but visitors as well.
A circular was sent last week asking government offices to ensure that all their toilets were clean and functional with adequate water.
“The decision came after a meeting with the chief secretary last week,” said Malini Shankar, principal secretary, sanitation and water supply.
The circular makes it compulsory for all departments to make separate funds available in the budget. Typically, the offices will need to have two toilets – one for employees and another for visitors. They will also have to be well maintained, preferably with separate maintenance staff.
The decision, which will be implemented by all departments, will have to be passed on to all the agencies working with them, and will eventually spread out to the courts, police stations, government hospitals and educational institutes which fall under the government.
Shankar explained that the issue came up when policies implemented by the government were being discussed. “We are trying to implement several sanitation schemes both urban and rural in the entire state. But one look at our own offices and we knew how sanitation-unfriendly we are.”
According to Shankar, anyone coming to a government office for work, especially women, face problems because either they are dirty or simply not there. “Hence we decided to first start with cleaning up our own offices,” she said.
The state government will also work out a monitoring mechanism — surprise visits by special squads or committees — to keep a check on maintenance of toilets.