What are you doing about public toilets, court asks civic body

April 27th, 2009 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) Pulling up the city civic body over the sorry state of public toilets in the national capital, especially with the Commonwealth Games due next year, the Delhi High Court Monday sought a detailed status report on what it plans to do to improve sanitation in the city.
A division bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S.K. Mishra told the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) counsel, “We are not satisfied. The MCD should be directed to submit a detailed report in three months.”

The counsel for MCD told the court that steps were being taken to amend matters. “We have already issued tenders and are looking for a company which along with taking care of the public toilets will also use them for publicity purpose.”

The bench slated the hearing for Aug 13.

The pathetic state of public toilets was highlighted by Shahana Sheikh, a final year student of economics at Lady Sri Ram (LSR) College, who undertook a tour of slums and the outskirts of Delhi from May to July 2008.

According to Sheikh, the MCD, in its 2007 report, claims that there are 3,192 public conveniences in the national capital but she found only 1,534 toilets during her survey.

In her report titled “Public Toilets in Delhi - An emphasis on the Facilities for Women in Slum Areas”, Sheikh says only 132 urinals are available for women and most of them are in a dilapidated state.

“A man has options but a woman can’t urinate in the open as that is deemed ‘uncultured’. The issue of public toilets affects women the most, especially poor women,” Sheikh said.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal, who is a counsel in the case, told the bench: “We are preparing ourselves for the Commonwealth Games and it’s horrible that the city’s civic agencies do not even perform their basic duties. It’s a violation of the rights of citizens, especially women, who have no option but to defecate in the open.”

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