mid-day campaign: Western suburbs police stations are filthy and stink
The toilets at police stations in Mumbai Western suburbs have no soap or handwash, and some personnel bring their own; the washrooms are lined with clogged pipes, leaky ceilings, are filthy and stink
'Haath ki safai' is not something one can expect in the toilets of police stations in the Western region of Mumbai. It goes without saying that no soap or handwash is available in these toilets. The police say that most visitors, for instance at Khar police station, hardly want to use the toilet, so the lone washroom at the police station has been kept reserved specially for the use of police personnel.
To compound this problem for visitors, there is no public toilet within the radius of one kilometre of the police station. A little before Khar, the Bandra police station may have recently revamped its toilets, but their condition has not improved much. The toilets are poorly lit and water drops fall onto the user's head when he/she squats, due to leakage from the ceiling. The toilets also stink.
The Bandra police station has revamped its toilets, but their condition has not changed
"Our shoes used to get wet with our pee as the drain pipe of the urinal was broken. Recently the toilet has been revamped but the washroom still stinks due to poor maintenance," said a policeman at Bandra police station.
It seems that the restrooms at Jogeshwari police station have been allowed to run to ruin. The squat toilets and urinals are unused due to the dilapidated condition of its old-fashioned wooden doors. Termites have damaged them. The toilets are poorly lit during the night but get enough sunlight through the ventilators. Officers say the condition worsens during the monsoon when the bushes outside the toilet flourish due to the rain and they have to wade through the water to use them.
The sole toilet at Khar police station is in a bad shape
A health hazard
The condition of Santacruz police station's washroom appears the worst. One cannot even think of entering the men's loo to pee, as the urinals are filled with hair and grit clogging the drainage pipes. Without bothering about the health hazards, the low rung officers have to relieve themselves here. There are squat toilets adjacent to the urinals, the condition of which is equally deplorable. "There are no latches. If the door is shut, it means someone is inside. We don't have any other option," a middle-aged man in uniform told mid-day at Santacruz police station. "There is also no tap in the washbasin to wash our hands," he added.
Others soil police loo
A senior police officer told mid-day that the morning walkers and joggers come to a nearby park which lacks a toilet. "So, they use and soil the toilet of Santacruz police station. Auto-rickshaw drivers and BEST drivers also use it if they are passing by. We cannot refuse them," said the officer. The officer further said that there are many NGOs and the Rotary Club which are willing to construct eco-friendly toilets for police stations, "But we have strict instructions from senior officers not to get any services free of cost."
The clogged wash basin at BKC police station. Pic/Suraj Ojha
At MIDC police station's toilet, one has to walk over the remnants of poop to reach the washbasin. Users also carry their own soap. The building of the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) police station looks world class, but hides a dirty secret within – filthy toilets. Paan-masala spit has clogged the washbasins. The toilets are also wet and slippery.
Some stations ISO certified
In an attempt to encourage the maintenance of police station infrastructure, former city police chief AN Roy had introduced an ambitious plan in 2005. It involved getting an ISO certification for all police stations across Mumbai. The idea was to pressure the department to bring in transparency at work and improve infrastructure in order to secure the certificate. City police spokesperson Manjunath Shinge told mid-day that some police stations are ISO certified. However, he did not name them.
What the men in uniform have to brave at Jogeshwari police station. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
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