Twenty-year-old Shalini Mahto* is a second year student of Bero College, about 40 km from Ranchi. She goes to college only to give exams. She bunked almost all her freshman year, attending college for less than 15 days. It is not because classes are challenging for Mahto but holding the bladder daily for close to 6 hours is.
Her college, like 50% of the 15 affiliated and 54 constituent colleges under the Ranchi University, doesn’t have toilets or usable ones, which means either the washroom doesn’t have doors, have men-only urinals or the latrines have been turned into a junk storeroom by the colleges, allege students unions.
There are about 75,000 students studying in Ranchi University colleges, of which about 30,000 are girls, said an official. At least 10,000 girls face problems due to lack of toilets, says representatives of college students unions. It is the same case with four other universities of Jharkhand.
Like men, women in some of these colleges, often must urinate outdoors, in the scarce privacy offered by knee-high bushes. But unlike men, they sometimes endure taunting.
“The crisis situation forces students, including girls, in BS College in Lohardaga and Khunti College to attend nature’s call amid the bushes,” says Harish Kumar, a senior member of All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU).
But most of the young girls prefer to cut short hours spent in colleges to escape the uneasiness of having to relieve themselves in the open.
Nineteen-year-old Babli Kumari, a student of Bundu College, about 30km from Ranchi, quickly returns home after the first hour because her college doesn’t have a toilet.
“We have four classes a day but I attend only one whichever is the most important. I plan my studies accordingly,” said Kumari.