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Lack of sanitary systems in city discussed

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, Jan 11 � A proposal to set up a �Toilet Association� for Guwahati city was mooted at the �Thumb Print Conversation� held on Friday.

The conversation on �Toilets, loos, washrooms in urban spaces�, an initiative of The Thumb Print webzine, was moderated by Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Commissioner S Viswanathan.

The issue of lack of proper toilets for men, women, children and the differently-abled was raised in the conversation. Maintenance of hygiene of the toilets as well as their safety with proper lighting was stressed. People openly spoke about many issues including disposal of waste.

Viswanathan said that many new initiatives were coming up to set up clean toilets at a convenient distance. �People want clean toilets in shopping malls, cinema halls and even bus stations, but the public needs to use toilets, loos and washrooms properly. The GMC is considering the issue for the past few months and we have chosen three locations � Fancy Bazar, Fatasil and Paltan Bazaar,� he said.

Viswanathan said there are 30 blocks in the city and the GMC would provide one toilet in a one-km radius. �Lots of states such as Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have already gone ahead with such projects, and we are also going to have it soon,� he added.

Disability rights activist Arman Ali, author Indrani Raimedhi, Ranjani Phukan and Anirban Roy of the British High Commission, actress Zerifa Wahid, Smita Agarwal, chairperson FLO, actress and television anchor Dr Akashitora, child right activists Miguel D Queah, advocate Rituparna Roychowdhuri, Snigdha Menon Das, and students of Maria�s Public School took part in the conversation.

�We have the shopping malls, various brands, flyovers, etc., but there is no public toilet facility in the city. There are no proper toilets in cinema halls and also in the only film studio of the State Jyoti Chitraban, which is really sad,� said Zerifa Wahid.

Smita Agarwal said that the toilets in the airport were not constructed keeping in mind the convenience of the users. Snigdha Menon added that facilities should be made considering gender ability and age. On this, Arman Ali said that toilet facilities should be based on the principle of universal design to suit everyone�s need.

Dr Akashitora said, �Even in Mohenjodaro and Harappa they had very good drainage systems. We have to make people realise how important it is to have adequate sanitation systems as well as their use.�

PK Roy raised the issue of waste disposal which needs to be considered acutely.

�Building of toilets is not enough. The problem lies somewhere else; when we talk of urban sanitisation, disposal of waste becomes a very important factor,� he said.

Viswanathan said that the bio-digestor system had been introduced in the city for disposal of waste. Rituparna Roychowdhuri stressed the need for proper maintenance of toilets and scientific disposal of waste.

Miguel D Queah expressed said that toilets in urban spaces were a luxury, given that people living in the urban slums did not have toilets in their homes. �The children in these areas live in very unhygienic conditions. They either defecate in the open or on the railway tracks,� he said, adding that the GMC together with the Railways need to come up with proper facilities for the people in slums who constitute a considerable chunk of the city�s population.

The young students from Maria�s Public School said that they felt happy that they had been a part of the conversation on the issue which was usually not discussed such openly.

Anindita Das said the people in the riverside who build temporary houses, defecate and wash in the river water which is damaging the environment. �Moreover, the public toilets under the flyovers are centres of criminal activities. The GMC need to eradicate these problems,� she added.

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Lack of sanitary systems in city discussed

GUWAHATI, Jan 11 � A proposal to set up a �Toilet Association� for Guwahati city was mooted at the �Thumb Print Conversation� held on Friday.

The conversation on �Toilets, loos, washrooms in urban spaces�, an initiative of The Thumb Print webzine, was moderated by Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Commissioner S Viswanathan.

The issue of lack of proper toilets for men, women, children and the differently-abled was raised in the conversation. Maintenance of hygiene of the toilets as well as their safety with proper lighting was stressed. People openly spoke about many issues including disposal of waste.

Viswanathan said that many new initiatives were coming up to set up clean toilets at a convenient distance. �People want clean toilets in shopping malls, cinema halls and even bus stations, but the public needs to use toilets, loos and washrooms properly. The GMC is considering the issue for the past few months and we have chosen three locations � Fancy Bazar, Fatasil and Paltan Bazaar,� he said.

Viswanathan said there are 30 blocks in the city and the GMC would provide one toilet in a one-km radius. �Lots of states such as Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have already gone ahead with such projects, and we are also going to have it soon,� he added.

Disability rights activist Arman Ali, author Indrani Raimedhi, Ranjani Phukan and Anirban Roy of the British High Commission, actress Zerifa Wahid, Smita Agarwal, chairperson FLO, actress and television anchor Dr Akashitora, child right activists Miguel D Queah, advocate Rituparna Roychowdhuri, Snigdha Menon Das, and students of Maria�s Public School took part in the conversation.

�We have the shopping malls, various brands, flyovers, etc., but there is no public toilet facility in the city. There are no proper toilets in cinema halls and also in the only film studio of the State Jyoti Chitraban, which is really sad,� said Zerifa Wahid.

Smita Agarwal said that the toilets in the airport were not constructed keeping in mind the convenience of the users. Snigdha Menon added that facilities should be made considering gender ability and age. On this, Arman Ali said that toilet facilities should be based on the principle of universal design to suit everyone�s need.

Dr Akashitora said, �Even in Mohenjodaro and Harappa they had very good drainage systems. We have to make people realise how important it is to have adequate sanitation systems as well as their use.�

PK Roy raised the issue of waste disposal which needs to be considered acutely.

�Building of toilets is not enough. The problem lies somewhere else; when we talk of urban sanitisation, disposal of waste becomes a very important factor,� he said.

Viswanathan said that the bio-digestor system had been introduced in the city for disposal of waste. Rituparna Roychowdhuri stressed the need for proper maintenance of toilets and scientific disposal of waste.

Miguel D Queah expressed said that toilets in urban spaces were a luxury, given that people living in the urban slums did not have toilets in their homes. �The children in these areas live in very unhygienic conditions. They either defecate in the open or on the railway tracks,� he said, adding that the GMC together with the Railways need to come up with proper facilities for the people in slums who constitute a considerable chunk of the city�s population.

The young students from Maria�s Public School said that they felt happy that they had been a part of the conversation on the issue which was usually not discussed such openly.

Anindita Das said the people in the riverside who build temporary houses, defecate and wash in the river water which is damaging the environment. �Moreover, the public toilets under the flyovers are centres of criminal activities. The GMC need to eradicate these problems,� she added.