‘I wish I were a man when it comes to peeing’

The bladder is about to burst. The stomach is hurting. Nature’s call. Where to go? Men lined up in front of public walls and relieving themselves is a very common sight. But is there a place for women to pee in peace?

Adjectives like stinky, smelly, dirty, unhygienic and unbearable suit the status of Bangalore’s public toilets the most. And that is not all.

Woes of city’s public toilets

Savithamma, a domestic worker working in the residential areas of BTM layout and Jayanagar, says, “I travel from Gangenahalli (north Bangalore) everyday and come here to work. It takes more than two hours everyday and sometimes during rains, I feel the need to relieve myself but there is no place to go.”

Locked doors, severe stench and sometimes, even men, welcome women in public toilets. Pic: Ankita Mehta

She adds that she holds her bladder until she reaches the house where she works and uses the toilet there.

Devi, a construction worker from Koramangala says, she just goes behind mounds of sand, where she works, to relieve herself. The public toilet for women in the Koramangala BDA complex is also in a bad state. Men use the toilet near Koramangala police station. Another toilet further down, is locked on the women’s side.

Facts and figures

According to a Deccan Herald report on February 25, 2012:

Number of public toilets BBMP zone-wise

East Zone – 127 West Zone – 184 South Zone – 145 Rajarajeshwari Nagar Zone – 08 Mahadevapura Zone – 13 Yelahanka Zone – 21 Dasarahalli Zone – 02 Bommanahalli Zone – 04

Toilet malfunction

East Zone – 22 West Zone – 40 South Zone – 23 Mahadevapura Zone – 03

A Koramangala resident who does not want to be named, jovially wishes she were a man, when it comes to peeing in the city. She says, “Public toilets in some areas are too public. Doors are made of rotten wood, sometimes there are no locks.”

Malls and restaurants – A better option

The situation is no different with the upper class women either. With no options of public toilets to answer nature’s call, they either resort to hold on till they reach home or end up rushing to the nearest cafe or malls to relieve themselves.

Savitha V, a professional residing in North Bangalore, narrates walking out of the metro station on MG Road and her three year old needed to use the washroom. “What do I do? Where can I take her? There’s no loo in the station. We can’t get home in 10 minutes’ time. Then we go to the nearest cafe, order a coffee, take her to the loo, drink the coffee we didn’t want, and leave," she says.

Condition of public toilets. Pic: Ankita Mehta

Nanda Padmanabhan, a resident of Kaggdaspura says, “One would actually need a map to find out where the freaking place is. Eventually when you do find it, you realise that they are sans doors. If doors are present, they cannot be shut. If you do shut them, you do it at your peril.” The chances that you may not be able to open them again are high. She adds that these toilets, being at the most inconvenient spots, adds to all the other woes.

The BBMP PRO Shivasharanappa Khandre says, “We realise there are a lot of problems when it comes to public toilets in the city. We have allocated budget for the construction of new toilets especially in areas that have very few or no toilets at all.” He adds that there is no ‘special facility’ that is coming up for maintenance of toilets for women in the city. “We hope this initiative will solve the problem of public toilets,” he says.

A man inside a ladies toilet! Pic: Anisha Nair

Currently with just around 500 public toilets in the city, the BBMP has sanctioned an estimated 10 lakh rupees for the construction of 1000 more toilets under public private partnership(PPP) in their 2012-13 year budget. But how many of these will be accessible to the population of approximately four and a half million women in the city?

Comments:

  1. Mahadev K B says:

    Even the best planned layouts of Bangalore (BDA included ) have not provided any public toilet. It is not just ladies alone. Senior citizens and specially diabetic persons find the need for toilets at busy places. Hotels are pitching in and doing good business also.

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