Like every commuter who has travelled on the Western Railway’s suburban section, on Sunday, one more woman was dismayed by the lack of clean toilets at stations.
Chitra Wagh, member, Maharashtra state’s women’s commission, visited major stations on the Western Railway (WR) on Sunday to examine facilities for women, only to find the number of toilets is too less to cater to the passenger volume. Where present, the toilets are poorly-maintained, stink and women are often overcharged for using them.
“The state of toilets is pathetic. Most of them are so bad that they cannot be used. Some were even locked. The contractors were blatantly overcharging the users and station masters were not aware of it. I shall speak to WR authorities about this,” said Wagh.
The Women’s Commission member interacted with commuters at Bandra, Andheri, Borivli, Mira Road, Bhayandar, Vasai and Virar. She also found a lot of commuters were not aware of the much-touted exclusive helpline (98333 12222)for women.
“The Nirbhaya helpline is a good initiative, but it should be popularised by displaying the number near women’s compartments on the platforms and in the train. There is no point in starting a service if it’s not reaching the commuters,” said Wagh.
HT had earlier reported about the lack of lavatories for women commuters on suburban stations. A right to information (RTI) application revealed that according to WR, Mumbai division data, on 30 stations on the suburban and mainline sections, there are 431 urinals for men, whereas only 37 for women.
Bandra and Andheri stations, which cater to nearly 11 lakh commuters daily, have four toilets and no urinals for women, while they have 13 toilets and 24 urinals for men.