Fadnavis' 50,000 Mumbai 'sisters' demand toilets

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's office has been aflush with a whopping 50,000 post-cards from 'sisters' demanding toilet facilities for women in Mumbai, an official said here on Thursday.

The 50,000 printed post-cards were signed by Mumbai's working women and posted on March 8 - International Women's Day - hoping to draw 'elder brother' Fadnavis's attention to the immense problems they faced due to lack of clean, hygienic toilets around the city.

Devendra Fadnavis
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

"A metropolis like Mumbai fails to provide women with sufficient number of hygienic urinals and latrines at convenient intervals. The situation is worse for women in other parts of the state. Hence, we have launched the 'My Right to Clean Toilets' initiative," Maharashtra Navnirman Sena vice-president Shalini Thackeray told IANS.

She claimed that the call for clean and safe toilets for women was not a political demand but a serious matter of concern for the sanitation of the women in the city since they encounter various social and health issues due to lack of sufficient toilets.

Taking serious note of the demand from so many 'sisters', Fadnavis has accorded the matter priority and will meet Thackeray next week to hammer out solutions.

Thackeray explained that an MNS survey earlier this month revealed there are around 4,500 public toilets in Mumbai, of which nearly 65 percent are for men only, many have no proper water supply and a majority are filthy.

"This poses immense hardships to women, especially in urban centres like Mumbai where they commute long distances and remain outdoors for work at least 12 hours daily," Thackeray said.

The drive was launched with a signature campaign at various railway stations March 8 with the participation of celebrities and the post-cards were posted to the chief minister's office.

MNS president Raj Thackeray inaugurated a block of 50 pre-fabricated toilets for women of Dindoshi in suburban Malad to kick off the drive.

Shalini Thackeray said after her meeting with Fadnavis next week, she would call on the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation authorities and later spread the 'My Right to Clean Toilets' campaign in rural Maharashtra.

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