Navi Mumbai is the city of 21st century and the only planned city of the country. Vashi is the heart of this city and no doubt it has almost all the basic infrastructure. What it lacks is public toilets to answer nature’s call.
The present estimated population of Vashi is 1,90,000, of which includes 80 percent resides in urban areas and 20 percent in rural areas. More than 18,000 tenements built for lower, middle and upper income groups by CIDCO in urban areas are equipped with proper sanitation system. To cater their daily needs there are more than 5,000 shops selling clothes, jewellery, stationery etc.
During evening time more than 50,000 women come out for shopping. They mostly move in markets along with their children for one to two hours daily. Among them are senior citizens, and pregnant women as well. In the absence of proper public toilet facility they have to ignore nature’s call till they reach back home.
Doctors say ignoring nature’s call is bad for health. ” It directly affects one’s digestive system, leading to development of various diseases like stone in the kidney etc. Senior citizens do not have the capacity to control and in pregnant women this tendency harms not only the mother but also the unborn child”.
Vashi urban area has in all 10 public toilets and urinals with 75 seats, out of them 50 percent are meant for men. Koperkhairane and Ghansoli urban regions do not have any public toilets for women.
Most women feel shy to visit public toilets as most of them are maintained by men and also because they are unhygienic and stinky.
The above figure gives a clear picture of the apathy faced by the women of the 21st century due to lack of toilets.
Social activist Sandhya P says “Indian women feel inhibited in a male-dominant society. But shying away from responding to nature’s call is a major threat to their health”.
College student Preeti Mondal says, “Public toilets at bus depots and railway stations are accessible as the area is always crowded so there is less threat”.
A working women who doesn’t wanted to reveal her name says, ‘Even in an emergency I never prefer public toilets because you always find men lurking around as if they are waiting for some shikar”.