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More ladies’ toilets for Mumbai30th of November 2011
The municipal corporation of Mumbai in India is to build dedicated toilets for women at 2km intervals around the city.
And a group of NGOs in the region want them to be equipped with sanitary pad vending machines and staffed by female cleaners.
The civic body of Mumbai aims to improve sanitary standards by providing free-to-use washrooms for women. The decision has partly been steered by 35 local NGOs - non-governmental organisations - which have been lobbying for improved female sanitation facilities.
"Women generally face problems when a male attendant is tending to the bathroom," said Usha Kale of NGO Apnalaya India. "It is embarrassing for them. There should also be vending machines for sanitary pads in the toilets: I am sure a woman would not mind paying for the facility to buy and change at the same place."
Kale also points out that women are currently charged to use public toilets, which is unacceptable.
"There are times when a woman might not have change to pay," she said. "It becomes embarrassing for a woman to argue with a male attendant and hence she might entirely avoid using the loo. This leads to health hazards, while unclean toilets and unsafe atmosphere adds to the trouble."
According to a BMC official there are around 1,800 public toilets in the city but the ratio of men's toilet blocks to ladies' facilities is currently 80:20.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is planning to build dedicated toilets for women within every 2km around Mumbai. After their construction, their maintenance and management will be handed over to NGOs.