Mangu D’souza, 41, bears a stink — which you and I cannot tolerate for even a few minutes — all day. D’souza, who is in charge of cleaning the ladies’ toilet at Churchgate station, says the source of the stink is not from the toilet cubicles but from a gutter right next to the toilet.
“I clean the toilets regularly, but what can I do about the gutter that brings the smell inside. They (station authorities) need do something about it,” she said, pointing to the toilet window that opens to the adjacent drain.
The stomach-churning conditions under which the toilet-cleaning staff work make them the worst sufferers of the apathetic attitude of the authorities. Many cleaners said they often fall ill because of ever-present bacterial germs in the toilets.
“We do our best but people often lack basic sensitivity. All they need to do is put sufficient water and dispose of waste in the dustbin. The only thing they know is how to complain. The dirt affects us as much. We are human beings too, right?” said Anita Badugabali, cleaner at CST station. Badugabali said she often suffers from nauseous headaches and fever due to her unhealthy work conditions.
Some of the cleaners also complained of the contractors not providing them with sufficient toilet cleaners and fresheners.
Bimla Das, 65, the lone cleaner of both gents’ and ladies’ toilets at Kopar station on CR, said she had to fight hard with the contractor to obtain something as elementary as a bottle of phenyl.
“I used to clean the latrines with only water and a broom, which I bought with my own money,” she said.