Is Swaach Bharat a lost cause?
Oct 10, 2016, 13:09 IST|
Men everywhere in this country have no qualms about zipping off their fly peeing in full public view and zipping up again as if that's the most natural thing to do..
Yesterday while on a round of Puja pandals in Shillong we saw several such scenes. One lady even shouted at one such offender who stopped leaking half way.
But most men spoken to give the age old excuse that there are no public toilets in most cities of the North East. In Shillong for instance there is a public toilet in the MUDA parking lot but it's dirty and it stinks. The SULABH type of well maintained toilets are yet to be seen in thus city.
So has Prime Minister Modi put the cart before the horse by announcing with much fanfare the Swaach Bharat Mission or is urinating in public (which is a male centric action) not considered offensive enough to attract a penalty?
This writer spoke to recently inducted Urban Affairs Minister, Govt of Meghalaya, RV Lyngdoh about the absence of public toilets in different parts of the city. His response was that the Dept is considering having portable toilets to be installed at public places during major celebrations. "A Company has approached the government for this same purpose, but the time to install toilets for the Durga Puja celebration was too short, so we will have to think of the next major occasion that attracts big crowds," Lyngdoh said adding that the Govt is also considering putting up pay toilets at Iew Duh and some more at Khyndailad (police bazar), amongst other more frequented places.
About the toilet at MUDA, the minister said that if the firm which has got the contract for maintenance of the particular toilet is falling in its duty, then the contract would be cancelled and other contractor will be brought in because the purpose of providing the toilet is not to make money but to provide a public service.
Perhaps once these public toilets are in place the Govt of Meghalaya can start penalising those who are caught violating public decency by relieving themselves anywhere they feel like.
Incidentally women are never seen urinating in public. So is this a gender thing as well?
(By Patricia Mukhim)