LAHORE - The people of Lahore are perhaps waiting for some Narendra Modi to build public lavatories which are fast disappearing from the City especially in the old localities.
Only 30 public toilets are functional in City of around 12 million people, according to a survey conducted by The Nation.
Major public places like shopping malls, markets, bus stands and parks lack this facility. Consequently visitors at public places are forced to off-load at ‘open toilets’ along walls inscribed with the instruction “Yahan paishaab karma mana hai” (it is forbidden to urinate here). And those who manage to keep their sanity are on the look for a mosque. But women face problems as they don’t have any of the two options.
Narendara Modi, BJP's prime ministerial candidate, made headlines in the world media when he raised the slogan: “Build toilets first and temples later”. But perhaps Mr Modi did not know the problem also existed in the neighbouring country also.
A survey conducted by this scribe revealed that the condition of the existing toilets were pathetic. It is near to impossible for a human to use these unhygienic waterless facilities.
The officials of the Public Facility department have blamed contractors of Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) and WAPDA for the sorry state of affairs. “They have disconnected water and electricity connections of some of public toilets due to non-payment of bills”, they responded to The Nation’s query.
Moreover, the number of public toilets in the City was decreasing in comparison with the ever-growing population. According to data collected from the Public Facility department of CDGL only 30 public toilets were functional in City. The rest have been demolished to make room for different government projects.
Former District Nazim Mian Amir Mehmood had also planned to construct public toilets at important intersections. In this regard, the administration had identified places at various commercial and public places for the purpose, but the idea did not materilaise due to traditional slackness of our departments. The officials of the Public Facility department of City District Government Lahore (CDGL) told this scribe that they had identified 120 sites for the construction of new public toilets at different important locations and a proposal has been sent to Works and Communication department for approval.
District Officer Public Facility Department Shabir Ahmad informed that the department was working on a project of public toilets from several years and finally the department marked some suitable sites for the purpose after a detailed survey of different intersections and important areas of the city.
He said that the construction of such public toilets was top most priority of PF department and had sent a summery to EDO Works and Communication Department a couple of months ago for approval. “We are awaiting the approval of this plan and hopefully it would come in a few days”, he said.
The DO further said that the proposed public toilets were designed according to international standards by engineers of all concerned departments. He said that engineers also designed waiting rooms and rest rooms with the proposed toilets for both ladies and gents separately.
The existing public toilets, he added, would also be restored, renovated and re-constructed.
The official also told that department marked the sites in almost all the important areas of the city including bus terminals, business areas, markets and intersections, parks and important public places.
He further said that the project was likely to be started immediately after the drive against encroachment completes.