Absence of adequate number of public toilets in the vicinity of city’s tertiary care institute forces several patients and their attendants to urinate out in parks. The entrance gates of PGI and parks present a sorry state of affairs.
Hundreds of patients and their attendants lying out in parks of the PGI have to struggle daily to find a suitable place to answer nature’s call. The situation is more troublesome for women, who have to argue with security guards at times.
Meenu Jaskalyaan is at PGI for her six-year-old daughter, Kashish’s treatment. During the day time, both mother and daughter use the toilets located inside Nehru building, but the problem begins as the sun sets.
“The security guards at the Nehru building asks for patient card before I go to the toilet, so every time I have to take my daughter, who is a patient, along with me. Another option is public toilets located behind the Advance Trauma Centre, but they charge Rs 5 to Rs 10 per person, which I can not afford,” said Meenu, who is staying out in park of PGI from last three months.
“I do not have money to purchase my daughter’s medicine, how can I give Rs 5 to them. I am left with no other option but to urinate in park and for that I have to wait for darkness to fall,” she said. As per other attendants, the public toilets are costly. Sweeper charges Rs 5 for using the toilet for urination/defecation, Rs 10 if one has to take shower and from those who have to wash clothes, they charge additional Rs 5 per pair of clothes.
The third option left with people is toilets available in the Nehru Sarai. “At times, the guards and sweepers employed at Nehru Sarai trouble us. They do not allow us to use toilets and will stop the water supply. We request them and at times argue with them,” said 20-years-old Durga, who is suffering from kidney problem and was on dialysis.
In the absence of sufficient number of public toilets, people have started using the boundary walls and corners of the entrance gates of PGI as urinals. The stench is unbearable and is highly unhygienic.
“Near the entrance, daily free food is distributed and behind the boundary walls, people urinate and defecate in open. It poses serious health hazards,” said one of the officials from the institute.
When questioned about the lack of public toilet facilities for attendants and patients living outside in PGI, the spokesperson said, “We have sufficient number of public toilets inside every building of PGI. The indoor patients and those coming in OPD’s do not have to face any such problem.”
“PGI has handed over the responsibility of maintenance of Public toilets situated behind the ATC to Sulabh. They are charging maintenance fees from the common public. The officials are also planning to give on contract the maintenance of two-three more public toilets,” said an official.