Hold in, there are no loos here

Hold in, there are no loos here

A public toilet might be the most obvious basic amenity you would expect in a crowded commercial area. But walk around the City and you would know how tough it is to find one when you need it the most.

The most essential sanitation facility is conspicuously absent even in upmarket areas. A classic example is the Mahatma Gandhi Road (MG Road), which attracts thousands of people every day, especially during weekends. This 2.5-km stretch does not have a single public toilet, and this is felt particularly by shoppers.

“You cannot visit a restaurant every time you need to use the washroom. It is really sad that some of the most happening shopping destinations do not have basic, personal space for hygiene,” laments Sanjana, a frequent shopper on Brigade Road and MG Road.

The fate of Commercial Street, Kamaraj Road, Richmond Circle, Hudson Circle and Residency Road is no different. Finding a public toilet is a Herculean task in these areas.

The road which leads to the corridors of power, Dr Ambedkar Veedhi, is no exception. Here, people who are “in a hurry” conveniently urinate in the Cubbon Park! It is obvious that the BBMP, which is responsible to construct toilets in crowded areas, has blatantly failed. The Palike’s response: There is no space.

Government hospitals in the City receive hundreds of visitors every day. But neither the hospitals nor the civic body has made any provisions for toilets.

A visit to the bus-stop located between Kidwai Hospital and Nimhans on Hosur Road should be an eye-opener. Visitors to these health facilities are using a portion of the bus-stop as public toilet, causing inconveniences to  commuters. “I came to see my brother at Kidwai Hospital and could not find a public urinal. Due to lack of toilet facilities, people have turned the bus-stop into a urinal,” says Pradeep.

The stench is unbearable in some of the most populated places in the City such as the City Market area. Although the area houses government-run Victoria, Vani Vilas and Minto Hospital, there is no space for public urinals or ‘sulabhs’. It is ironic that people use the footpath right outside the BBMP main office as a public toilet even though there is a designated toilet block located within a few steps from the office premises.

Urinating in public spaces and defecating in the open is not only common in rural areas, but a hard fact even in Bangalore City as well.  Train passengers entering and exiting the City Railway Station can see proof of open defecation where people from slums use rail tracks for answering the call of nature. Despite efforts made by civic bodies to construct sulabhs and urinals for slum dwellers, people still prefer open spaces.

I M Prahalad, training and research assistant, Sochara – Community health Cell organisation, explains why slum dwellers prefer not to use public toilets. “Slum dwellers are mainly daily wage workers who earn Rs 300 to Rs 500 a day. They wouldn’t like to spend money to use toilets. This is one of the reasons why we still have people creating a mess on footpaths and streets. A sulabh near Ashoka Pillar is meant for use by slum dwellers, but they hardly use it,” he adds.

The 2.5-km MG Road doesn’t have a single public toilet. Traders, shoppers have to go to restaurants which have the facility

Bangalore requires a large number of toilets. I often roam around the City. Only three pc of the required number of toilets are available in the City and those toilets are not in a hygienic condition, compelling people to urinate on footpaths or roads. We had hopes from Nirmala Shouchalaya but that too did not serve the purpose as they are either poorly maintained or closed. In areas such as Chickpet and Balepet, it is a very challenging task to spot a toilet. Even if you locate one, you will have to stand in a queue.
H N Manohar,
Resident of Peenya