by Farzana Nisar
SRINAGAR: While the lack of abundant public conveniences in the city has been a major cause of concern for tourists and the general public, the closure of the present public toilets early in the evening also causes a lot of inconvenience to them.
The public conveniences are shut long before it gets dark in the evening, thus denying the tourists and commoners an essential service.
“Yesterday at around 6 pm I and my wife struggled to find a public convenience and when we found one near Pratap Park, it was closed. And then, unfortunately, we had to skip our shopping and go back to the hotel,” said Sachin, a tourist from Delhi.
“Access to toilet is a basic human right but here the public toilets remain padlocked during late hours of the day, this is terrible. Kashmir is one of the most beautiful destinations but the inconvenience caused due to the closure of local toilets is a disgrace to the city,” said another tourist.
According to Jan Mohammad, who owns a shop in city centre Lal Chowk, the owners shut the toilets according to their own will,” I close my shop after 6:30 pm and I find many people waiting near the public toilets but they are already closed and this is a bit of an embarrassment.”
Meanwhile, the manager of a public convenience in Lal Chowk said that “The timing for which the toilet is to remain open is fixed.SMC has ordered us to close the toilets by 6 pm but I on my own will close it late, almost by 7 pm.”
Ghulam Nabi, a manager of another public toilet in Lal Chowk said that he shuts the toilet late in the night at around 8 pm so that tourists and other people do not face much inconvenience.
When contact compost officer Srinagar Municipal Committee (SMC) Srinagar, Mohammad Yaseen, he said that municipal committee will definitely take steps in this regard and try those tourists and other locals face no problem.”Usually, the toilets remain open from 8 AM to 6 pm but I ensure that as the days get longer the public toilets will remain open till late in the evening”, he said.