Mumbai’s pay-and-use toilets will be free for users until Covid-19 lockdown
The BMC authorities said the relief would help the stranded migrant workers in the city, who have no source of income since the initial 21-day nationwide lockdown restrictions were enforced on March 25 and further extended for another 19 days till May 3.Updated: Apr 17, 2020 15:48 IST
The pay-and-use toilets in Mumbai will be free for the public until the lockdown restrictions are in place till May 3 to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) authorities decided on Friday.
The BMC authorities said the relief would help the stranded migrant workers in the city, who have no source of income since the initial 21-day nationwide lockdown restrictions were enforced on March 25 and further extended for another 19 days till May 3.
“We have instructed all public toilet facilities not to charge any money from the users. This relief will continue till May 3 to help the stranded people in the city,” said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner (health), BMC.
Mumbai has around 8,500 public toilets, which are run by BMC and charitable organisations. They charge between Rs 2 and Rs 5 for one-time use. Over one million people in the city are estimated to use these facilities. The footfall at pay-and-use toilets have come down by over 80% because of the ongoing lockdown, the BMC official said.
At present, homeless migrant workers are the only users of these facilities. “I have lost my job because of the lockdown. I have only Rs 100 on me. I can’t afford to use the pay-and-use toilet for more than once a week when I pay Rs 5 to take a bath,” said a labourer from West Bengal Malda’s district, who is living in a slum in Bandra (East).
Human rights activists have praised the BMC’s decision. It is the responsibility of the civic authorities to make arrangements for the basic necessities of the stranded workers amid the Covid-19 outbreak, they said.
“Thousands of workers have lost their work due to the lockdown. It is a responsible act by the BMC, as it has waived off the fee for public toilets,” said Robert D’Souza, a human rights activist.