SMO orders closure of toilets in Ludhiana, visitors face inconvenience

The closure of the toilets has left the differently-abled and pregnant women at the receiving end
Locked toilets at the community health centre in Ludhiana on Monday.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Locked toilets at the community health centre in Ludhiana on Monday.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Updated on Mar 09, 2020 10:32 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Ludhiana | By Mohit Khanna, Ludhiana

While Kalavati Devi of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh was honoured by the President of India on the International Women’s Day to collect money and build as many as 4,000 toilets in Kanpur to ensure cleanliness, the senior medical officer (SMO) of the Community Health Centre (CHC) in Sector 39, located behind the Vardhman Mills on the Chandigarh Road, has ordered the closure of all the toilets in the building so that the facilities are not used by patients and other visitors.

The closure of the toilets has left the differently-abled and pregnant women at the receiving end. Three portable toilets, that have been installed at a corner of the CHC , are quite for and completely out of bounds.

Five-month pregnant Roshni Devi (name changed) complained that the CHC authorities have locked the toilets in the building and installed portable toilets outside the building. “While standing in a queue, I wanted to go to toilet, but it was locked. When I asked a staff member to open it, he said the toilets were locked following the orders of the SMO. I had to walk outside in deep pain,” she said.

When asked, SMO Dr Amita Jain, “The toilets are meant for staff. The public could use the toilets outside.” On being pointed out that nothing had been written to specify that the toilets were meant for the staff and not for the general public, even the handicap, the SMO replied, “We have a staff of 40; if the public will use the toilets, then where the staff will go.”

NO RESTRICTED ENTRY TO LABOUR ROOM AREA

The SMO is concerned about the use of toilets by the public, but she is not bothered it there is a free-for-all at the labour room located on the first floor. The area, which is supposed to be restricted and not to be used as a ‘thoroughfare’. the area is frequented by even those people, who have no business to be there.

UNCLEANED SURROUNDINGS

If people face inconvenience inside the hospital due to lack of toilets, surroundings of the CHC also do not present a rosy picture. Heaps of garbage and stagnant water welcome patients and others visiting the hospital.

“There is a huge garbage dump located right opposite the centre. Sewage keeps overflowing emitting foul smell all the time,” said Raja Ram, a patient.

There is a huge rush of visitors as the CHC also houses an Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) dispensary.

People said visiting the CHC is an ordeal. “A normal person can fall ill if he/she stands in front of the CHC for over 10 minutes. Besides garbage, that emits foul small, stray dogs and cattle dot the road leading to the health centre and visitors have to be cautious of the cattle,” said Nand Lal, a resident of migrant quarters on the Chandigarh Road.

The SMO said, “We have written many letters to the authorities concerned to remove the garbage littered outside the hospital, but nothing has been done so far.”

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Saturday, October 16, 2021