Lucknow, May 3 (IANS) With this Uttar Pradesh capital having one of the poorest densities of public toilets for any major Indian city, denizens of Lucknow are facing a problem of continence – where to pee or not to pee. At least they cannot do so anymore at roadsides and in the open, as they have been used to all along, for fear of being fined.
This follows the orders of the local Lucknow Municipal Corporation that anyone found doing so in the open will initially be fined and then “brought to justice” for making the city dirty and unhygienic in contravention of the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan. Though people are not averse to the idea of making the city cleaner, their worry is larger and specific — if not in the open, then where?
As per the 2011 census, Lucknow’s population is 4.58 million. But there are only 78 public toilets and 105 public urinals as revealed by the reply to a 2014 RTI query. The dismal figures mean that there is only one public toilet per 58,844 people in the state capital and one public urinal per 43,712 people. As if this isn’t enough, what further endangers the security of women folk is common toilets for men and women.
For people out on long duties and vendors on streets and even shopkeepers at many important markets in the city, there is simply no place to relieve themselves.
No wonder then, says RTI activist Urvashi Sharma, the city of nawabs and their ‘tehzeeb’ (culture) has become an all-weather toilet, with hundreds spotted on any given day relieving themselves out in the open, on busy thoroughfares and even in VIP colonies, apart from spitting on any wall or public place that catches their fancy.
From this week, municipal corporation teams have started issuing Rs.50 tickets to the law- breakers. This amount would go up to Rs.500 when an official gazette is formally issued. Zonal officials and sanitary inspectors have been asked to ensure complete adherence to the orders.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)