35 Million Toilets Missing? SRUTHI GOTTIPATI
Indians Fight for Right to Pee
You could be forgiven for thinking that safety is the top concern for travelers brave enough to venture into India.
It’s not. Unclean toilets appear to be their main grouse, according to a recent survey.
Across India, toilets appear to be the new battleground on which wars are being waged, whether it’s about hygiene, austerity, gender equality or corruption.
Sanitation is a dump in India, with more than half of all households having no toilet facilities.
Even Bill Gates, one of the world’s richest people, has made his new mission to “reinvent the toilet.”
“One of my ultimate dreams now is to reinvent the toilet -- find a cheaper alternative to the flush toilet that does not require running water, has smell characteristics better than the flush toilet and is cheap,” he said recently.
But it’s mostly the women in India who are paying a price for toilets --literally.
Jim Yardley wrote recently in The New York Times that unlike men, many women in Mumbai often have to pay to urinate -- an injustice that has started a “Right to Pee” campaign.
Toilets have also been flushed into the austerity debate last week, when India’s Planning Commission ran up a 3 million rupee, or $54,100, bill for renovating the toilets at its headquarters, a move viewed by some as lavish and a drain on public funds.
That was followed by news that the western state of Goa had given 2 million rupees, or $35,700, to build a single air-conditioned toilet in the constituency of the former chief minister of the state.
Think that raises a stink? In India, where the government is reeling with corruption scandals, the innocuous toilet made a brief swirl when many reportedly went missing.
According to an April report in an Indian daily, the Telegraph, the federal government says it delivered about 87.1 million toilets to households across villages over the last decade. But the census shows that only about 51.6 million had toilets in 2011. That’s a case of 35 million missing toilets.
Even though this topic gives journalists a chance to indulge in cheesy toilet humor (who can resist?), here’s hoping for some rest in this room.
[Courtesy: The New York Times. Edited for sikhchic.com]
June 29, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: Irvinder Singh Babra (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), June 29, 2012, 9:58 AM.
What's happening in India is that it's on the brink of a toilet revolution.
2: Sundeep Grewal (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada), June 29, 2012, 10:30 PM.
Don't worry about it. I'm sure the Indian government could spare a few dollars for toilets if they have enough money to man an entire machinery geared to defaming its diaspora communities.
3: Shami Bal (Lodi, California, U.S.A.), July 11, 2012, 6:19 PM.
India's solution to pollution is dilution.