The BMC has allowed “pay and use” public toilet operators to resume charging people after they petitioned the civic body citing financial crisis due to loss of revenue.
On September 24, the BMC issued an order stating that public toilets that run on “pay and use” basis can again start charging for services. It stated the decision was taken following a letter from the operators and a review of the situation.
After the Covid-19 outbreak, the BMC, on April 16, had made pay and use toilets free to give poor and migrant labourers access to such facilities. There are around 1,100 such toilets across the city, which charge Rs 2 for toilet facilities and Rs 10 for a bath.
“We received a letter from the toilet operators’ association in July, requesting that they be once again allowed to charge people. They are facing losses since Covid-19 has increased operational costs. With no revenue being generated, it has becoming difficult for them to run the services. The BMC chief has also agreed to the decision,” said an official from the solid waste management department.
With almost no income for the last six months, the operators are struggling to pay the salaries of their staff and keeping the toilets clean round the clock. NGOs that operate these toilets, too, have expressed difficulty in paying salaries of the staff and electricity bill while also maintaining cleanliness.
Mumbai P S C Association, an umbrella body of such public toilets operators, welcomed the decision. “We are happy that the civic body has finally considered our demand. This will help us provide better sanitation facilities,” said Dhiraj Gohil, the association chairman. Gohil operates many pay and use toilets in Bandra and Borivali.
He, however, said that the association has urged BMC to revise the rates. “With Covid-19, expenditure has increased. Earlier, the toilets used to be cleaned thrice in a day. Now, we have to clean them five times. Also, we need to pay for hand sanitizers, masks and gloves of the staffers. There is a need to revise rates to Rs 5 for toilet facilities and Rs 15 for a bath,” said Gohil.
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