12 Dec 2020 4:36 AM GMT
"All metropolitan cities and towns in this country lack adequate public toilets and most do not possess anywhere a sense of hygiene is maintained," remarked the Calcutta High Court on Thursday while calling upon the Municipal Corporation, Kolkata, to formulate a clear policy for construction of toilets in the city. A Division Bench of Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee...
"All metropolitan cities and towns in this country lack adequate public toilets and most do not possess anywhere a sense of hygiene is maintained," remarked the Calcutta High Court on Thursday while calling upon the Municipal Corporation, Kolkata, to formulate a clear policy for construction of toilets in the city.
A Division Bench of Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee noted that in large metropolis cities like Kolkata, where floating population of outsiders and pavement dwellers is on a rise, there should be many more toilets than now available.
"Even the bustees and other tenements where the low income groups squeeze in, do not have adequate toilets and in such clusters more than 50 to 100 persons, at places, share one toilet," the Bench observed with concern.
In this backdrop, it has asked the Commissioner of Kolkata Municipal Corporation to take a proactive role to consult experts and formulate a scheme for such purpose with guidelines and milestones clearly indicated.
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"A clear policy and road map for the construction of public toilets for use of residents of bustees, pavement dwellers and users of parks should be indicated with a timeline and the mode of implementation also being outlined," the Bench said.
It suggested that Corporate houses may be tapped for CSR spending on such account and NGOs may also be involved.
The Bench further said that mere construction of toilets is not the complete panacea for the problem and the public must be educated to maintain hygiene.
"The toilets have to be kept clean and hygienic, a degree of awareness has to be inculcated and local residents, particularly from low income groups, may be engaged for the maintenance and upkeep of toilets with regular monitoring by Corporation officials," the Bench said.
The development comes in a writ petition filed against construction of a pay-and-use toilet being set up in a children's park.
While the Court recognized the "crying need" for construction of public toilets for the benefit of visitors and people who live on the streets, it also expressed concern over misuse of such facilities, in the following words:
"Experiments at toilets being set up in some parks have sometimes resulted in the park itself becoming a toilet for the locals who do not have access to toilet facilities to descend thereon."
Thus, the Court has stayed further construction of the toilet in the relevant park and it said that in case such construction is completed, the use of the same as a toilet shall not be commenced without the express leave of the Court.
Meanwhile, it has suggested that small areas at the outer edges of a park may be carved out for construction of toilets but, there must be a clear policy as to whether that toilet is for those who use the park or for all and sundry in the locality.
The matter will now be taken up after two weeks.
Case Title: Atanu Chatterjee v. State of West Bengal & Ors.
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