Metro's toilets: criticism high against pay-and-use system

HYDERABAD: Days after the L&T Hyderabad Metro Ltd introduced the system of Pay & Use toilets at several of its stations across the city, several commuters said they were uncomfortable with this step.

The maintenance of toilets at these metro stations has been handed over to Sulabh International, a social service organisation. They maintain the toilets and collect user charges — Rs 2 for using the urinals and Rs 5 for toilets.

Several commuters took to social media to express their anger, asking if they would soon be asked to pay separately for every other basic amenity at the Metro stations. "If we don't talk about it, tomorrow we could be asked to pay for the use of stairs and elevators," said Suma Latha, who takes the metro from Assembly to Miyapur for work.

To a commuter who took to Twitter to question the same, NVS Reddy, the MD of HMRL explained, " L&T was unable to maintain the washrooms & there's increasing public criticism about maintenance issues. So, they have handed over the washrooms to Sulabh international. Hence these Rs 2 for urinals/Rs 5 for toilet usage charges."

Some others were skeptical of Sulabh doing a good job in the long run. "This is the same company that maintains our public toilets elsewhere in the city. The less said about their maintenance, the better," said Amarnath GH.

A very small percentage of people have spoken in favour of the new arrangement. "The decision to charge users was apparently made after it was found that many people were not using the toilets as they were dirty and poorly maintained. It's a non-profit organisation that specialises in sanitation and hygiene. Their involvement will help increase accountability," said Krishna H, a commuter.

Meanwhile, the pay & use toilets have been introduced to only 29 of the 57 metro stations, at the moment. Whether or not the other stations will soon have the same facility is yet to be known.

Notably, the washrooms at metro stations under Sulabh's maintenance are being cleaned on time and they looked fine. At stations that didn't have this, they still had staff to clean the toilets but these weren't as well-tended as the others.

However, toilets overall had seen no rush or a queue to use them.

"A question is, what if I have no change? I doubt if they'd willingly return the change or allow UPI payments for the same," said Arpita M, a commuter.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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