mid-day campaign: Toilets for women cops have no water, poor light

Jan 14, 2019, 13:24 IST | Anamika Gharat

Women cops have it tougher, especially if they are pregnant or have their periods; the East region of Mumbai has poorly lit, waterless toilets for them, while male cops in one case, have none!

mid-day campaign: Toilets for women cops have no water, poor light
The toilet at Pant Nagar police station

Speaking of equality, the condition of toilets meant for female police in the East region, is as bad as those for male cops. The toilets are equally not maintained, filthy and smell. The women in uniform have no option but to use them and hope nothing happens to them, especially when they have their period or are pregnant. Many suffer from Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) which they claim is due to the use of the unclean toilets.

No water, no proper light
The toilet at the Navghar police station in Mulund is absolutely compact, and it is a skill to use it properly. In addition, it is filthy and stinks because of which it is also a health hazard to pregnant cops who use it.

The filthy urinals in the men's toilet at Navghar police station. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
The filthy urinals in the men's toilet at Navghar police station. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

The toilet also doesn't have a separate light inside, but is lit by a bulb placed over the non-functioning washbasin near it. Whenever the bulb stops functioning, the women have to use the toilet in the mobile phone's torch. But first, they need to fetch water in a bucket from the nearby gent's toilets, as they claim the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has infrequent water supply to the ladies toilet.

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"We have been fetching water from the gent's toilet and sometimes, it is embarrassing," said a lady police constable. She further added that they have been using drinking water to wash their hands. "We have been bringing our own soaps or hand sanitisers because nothing is provided here," she added. The other toilet at the police station has been shut due to the lack of water. The men's toilet at the police station is no better. It has not been cleaned for weeks. "Something is better than nothing," said a policeman philosophically, when asked how they use the dirty toilets at work.

The floor at the toilet at Mulund police station is always wet due to a constantly leaking tap
The floor at the toilet at Mulund police station is always wet due to a constantly leaking tap

Waste of water
At Mulund police station, due to a 24-hour water connection in the toilet on the ground floor, the floor is wet due to continuous leakage from the tap. But nothing is done about this wastage either.On opening the door to the Pant Nagar toilet, this reporter did not dare to enter, because not only were the tiles filthy, she nearly passed out because of the smell. The toilet bowls were also smeared with poop. A lady police constable said, "We had been using this toilet until recently, but stopped because thankfully we now have a good toilet in our changing room. But this toilet is used by female visitors to the police station."

Bigger toilet, more filth
Unlike the toilet at Navghar police station, the ladies toilet at Pant Nagar is big, and has a water connection. But the good points stop here. The spacious toilet has accumulated sizeable filth on the floor which obviously emanates an equal stench. The drainage pipes are clogged, turning the floor into a putrid pool, through which women have to walk to reach the toilet. There is also no soap in the toilet.

The non-functioning washbasin in the toilet at Navghar police station. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
The non-functioning washbasin in the toilet at Navghar police station. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

No toilets for cops
But for male police the situation is even worse at Pant Nagar. There is no toilet for them! In the city of the metro, monorail, coastal road and the state with samruddhi marg plans, a police officer has to go behind a police station and pee in the open. A police officer said, "There is one gent's toilet but it is always locked due to lack of water, so we use the open area as a toilet."

Police personnel and women
Women police personnel suffer the most during their menstrual cycle. A 36-year-old woman police constable said, "We have to adjust regarding toilets everywhere during duty hours. We are left with no option but to use it even though it is filthy. The situation is the worst during our menstrual cycle as we cannot throw the used tampons or sanitary pads in dustbins, because there are none. Most of us suffer from UTI." Another woman officer regretfully informed mid-day that they have to get their work place toilets cleaned by paying from their own pockets. "We collect money from women police and use it to pay a cleaner, else we have to suffer during our periods," she added.

Population and area the stations serve
Navghar police station:
Population: 3 lakh approx
Area: 17 sq km

Mulund police station
Population: 13 lakh
Area: 41 sq km

Pant Nagar police station:
Population: 7.4 lakh approx.
Area: 6 sq Km.

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