Srinagar Has Only A Few Public Washrooms For Women

by Masrat Nabi

SRINAGAR: With Srinagar city lacking restrooms for women, the government’s much-hyped Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has turned damp squib.

It is difficult for women folk to locate a clean washroom in crowded areas of the city. The central and union territory governments have been boasting about building such facilities for women which aren’t conspicuous on the ground.

SMC toilet in Srinagar. KL Image by Hilal Shah

“Public toilets aren’t a luxury. It is high time we begin to see them as basic and essential parts of any community,” Zainab Tariq, a student said.

Muneera, a young woman medical agent, who spends most of her day in the field said, “It is really distressing to not be able to find a public washroom nearly when one is working in the field.”

“On the street, I am constantly enquiring about the availability of washrooms. I go to restaurants to buy something just because I require to use a restroom. But even some of the restaurants also don’t have these facilities.”

The problem has been persistent. With  Jammu and Kashmir attracting more tourists than the rest of India, the lack of washrooms at tourist places around the city leaves one wondrous about the claims of the government.

“In other parts of the country, there are public washrooms after every two kilometres. But, there are only a few in Srinagar, and they are either closed or in poor shape. This demonstrates the local government’s lack of dedication towards the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which was launched by union government in 2014,” said Saba Fayaz.

Although Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has been asserting that there are various public washrooms in Srinagar, people, particularly women, have been demanding more female-specific washrooms.

“No one is paying attention to this problem. People are often hesitant to let commuters use their washrooms due to privacy and health concerns,” said Raziya.

The summer capital has only a few public toilets, the majority of which are in Srinagar’s commercial area.

When Nature Calls!

When contacted compost officer Srinagar Municipal Committee (SMC) Srinagar, Muhammad Ashraf Wani, refused to talk on the matter and advised to speak to the higher authorities. Joint Commissioner (S), Syed Abul Qasim, didn’t respond to repeated calls.

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