Even in Lal Chowk, the busiest area in Srinagar, local women confide lack of clean and hygienic toilets makes it difficult for them to survive a usual day out on streets.Saima Hameed, who works as a sales girl in one of the malls in the city, shares, “That mall has only two washrooms for women which are not even maintained properly. The taps are broken. The flush doesn't work. The toilets are stinking but we have no option but to use it. We can't obviously defecate in open. We have complained about it so many times but to no avail. Sometimes I prefer to wait till I reach home instead of using these dirty wash rooms.” Another young girl, Rumana who works as a medical representative, has to spend most of her day on the fields. “It becomes so distressful at times when you can't find a public convenience around when you have spend your day roaming from one place to another. I keep asking people on road if there are any toilets around. Sometimes, I even go to a restaurant and buy tea or other stuff so that I can use the washroom there. But I have noticed that the washrooms in many of these restaurants are also not maintained,” she confesses”, she said.
Even as the state of Jammu and Kashmir is expecting more than 10 lakh tourists to visit the valley this year, the authorities have failed to put up proper toilet facilities for locals let alone for the tourists across the summer capital Srinagar.According to a local tour and travel agent, the cab drivers, who ferry tourists in the city, face a huge problem during the travel. "Due to the lack of proper facilities we have to make the tourists wait until we reach a proper hotel, who are already informed," the agent says.However, Ishrat Farooq, working in a government bank in Lal Chowk said that, things are much easier as her government office has clean and hygienic washrooms. "Sometimes the only blessings about my job I feel is that it doesn't give me any health hazard. Using dirty wash rooms makes you vulnerable to diseases”, she added.The summer capital has only a few public toilets and most of them are located in Srinagar's commercial hub. A public convenience shed that was located close to Abdullah Bridge in Lal Chowk was demolished by the government few years back keeping in view its odd location.Considering the inconvenience women face, the authorities need to wake up to their distress to resolve the matter. (PTK)