The government’s much hyped Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has fallen flat in south Kashmir’s Tral township of Pulwama district due to lack of public lavatories in the sub-district.
The absence of public conveniences has become a source of trouble to people, particularly to women. Despite being the commercial and administrative hub for more than 100 villages there is only one public toilet near bus stand area of Tral-I-Payeen.
With thousands of people visiting main town Tral daily, people find it difficult to answer nature’s call as there is not even a single toilet facility in busy Tral-I-Bala side. Even the sub-district’s business hub Aab Ghar Chowk, busy court road, and Sub-District Hospital road don’t have public conveniences.
Often, people can be seen easing themselves on drains and open spaces even after government claims spending crores of rupees on the promotion of flagship schemes like Swach Bharat Abhiyan.
Hundreds of people including students, employees and shopkeepers turn to washrooms of local mosques in the absence of toilet facility. “The authorities during all these years did not even try to construct any public toilet here. We did apprise the municipal authorities number of times about this issue but no one is bothered to solve this matter,” said locals.
The worst sufferers for the want of a clean toilet are the ladies, who could be seen easing themselves on drains and roadsides. “While the men use toilets constructed near Masjids or restaurants, the women have to be silent sufferers. Everyday five to ten women enter my house for using washroom,” said an elderly woman Mehmooda of Old Market road.
A shopkeeper near Sumo Stand Tral-I-Bala told Greater Kashmir that in absence of toilet facility people have found an open spot where they are easing themselves.
“There is every risk of catching diseases as the open toilet spot emanates foul smell and breeds insects and worms,” he said.
Saleema, an elderly lady from remote area Naristan, said that she has a habit of drinking a lot of water because of some health issues. “Every Sunday I have been travelling to a private clinic located in main town Tral but I never found any washroom facility anywhere,” she said.
The officials on the other hand maintained that they attempted to construct a few washrooms in the town but were not allowed by Idara-e-Auqaf Hamdania, Block Development Office Tral and Block Medical Officer Tral. “We had funds available for the construction of public washrooms in the heart of the town but no one gave us any space particularly on Tral-I-Bala side,” said an official.
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