Stinking Toilets in Govt Offices of Guwahati paint a Sorry Picture
This week G Plus conducted a reality check of the condition of a few toilets in government offices in Guwahati. At a time when the country is laying emphasis on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a majority of government offices in the city reveals an unhygienic picture.
Office of Sales Tax, Kar Bhawan
Situated in Ganeshguri, the Kar Bhawan has a large number of visitors every day but the toilets of the office remain in a deplorable state. The urinals in the men’s toilet have turned into spittoons in the absence of regular cleaning.
An employee at the Sales Tax office admitted that the toilets were in a bad shape and the employees have been facing difficulty using them. He added that the office has only one full-time sweeper who has been given the job of cleaning the toilets but he has been irregular in his duties.
On the other hand, the official responsible for overlooking the upkeep of toilets, Simanta Bora, said that they have engaged two part-time cleaners in addition to the full-time sweeper.
“A few days ago, there was a problem of running water in toilets but it is now being looked into by the Public Works Department (PWD) which maintains the office building. We try our best to maintain proper facilities,” said Bora.
Officials say that they keep both the men’s and women’s toilets on the ground floor locked to prevent outsiders from using and dirtying the toilets.
Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra, Panjabari
Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra is a cultural institution which showcases the cultural heritage of Assam and the Northeast, and it is frequented by hundreds of tourists on a regular basis. However, the stinking toilets in the campus have marred the overall aesthetics of Kalakshetra.
“It is a beautiful place to visit in the city but more efforts should be made to maintain the washrooms. I could not enter the washroom because of the strong stench and water which was continuously flowing from the tap of the sink,” said a visitor, Nikhil Kumar.
On the other hand, administrative official at Kalakshetra, Jaleshwar Barman, said that the toilets are cleaned twice a day and the institute has hired four sweepers for the same.
He also blamed the increasing tourists for the improper condition of toilet facilities.
District Transport Office
Another office, the toilets of which remain in a pathetic condition, is the District Transport Office (DTO) in Betkuchi.
The office has 10 toilets in total but they lie in neglect with the apathy of authorities. Pankaj Das, an administrative official looking after the housekeeping at the DTO said that they currently using the services of two sweepers who work on daily wages.
“The situation will become better when permanent or even contractual cleaners are finalised by the higher authorities who are yet to take a decision,” said Das.
Medical experts say that dirty toilets are a breeding ground for bacteria which can cause infections. Doctors advise that toilets should be kept clean and dry as much as possible. The toilet seats also harbour germs and should be wiped before every use in order to prevent any chances of disease.
An office with a difference
Located in Beltola, this office is the Regional Office of the Development Commissioner for Handicrafts (ODCH) under the Central Ministry of Textiles. It sets an example of cleanliness with clean and hygienic toilet premises.
Even though they have employed three sweepers for cleaning the toilets as well as the office, officials say that they sometimes even clean the washrooms themselves whenever the need arises.
Talking to G Plus, Regional Director at ODCH, Niralaxmi Palai, said that they take extra measures to ensure that their toilets and the entire office premises are well-maintained.
“Toilets in offices reflect the general attitude of the workers and staff. It also gives an overall impression to outsiders and so they should be maintained the way we like to keep our toilets at home,” she said adding that they have fixed orders for various toilet and floor cleaners every month.
Officials say that users need to be conscientious while using washrooms and display a general sense of care for other users.