Lack of Toilets for Women in Haryana – A Serious Issue
17th September 2014
Haryana is a state known for its massive gender difference in favour of the male child. This shows the attitude of common people towards the girl child. However, there is also a glaring absence of proper civic amenities for women in this state, which portrays a complete lack of empathy for the fairer gender from the powers-that-be. In 2011 there were around one crore women living in the state. However, at that time there were only around 80 public toilets for women. This meant that on an average, for 1.4 lakh women there was only one toilet at that time. One wonders if the situation was any better for the men and if the situation has improved of late.
The government, on its part, has been making tall claims since that time. During 2011 it was supposed to have started a complete sanitation program whereby every house in the state was supposed to have a toilet. However, it is yet to achieve this aim as is evident from the present condition, especially in the rural areas. The situation is also critical in the towns – something that shows the level of interest that the government has in executing this project.
Even the toilets that are there for usage by the public are in pitiful condition. Majority of them had been constructed a decade back and have been suffering from overuse, thanks to the paucity of such facilities for the common people. There are plenty of locations such as Rohtak, Sonepat, Jhajjar, Jind and Mahendergarh, where there are no records about public toilets for women. Then there are towns where the number of such toilets ranges between one and two. In Gohana a couple of toilets had been erected for women during 2003 but one of them can’t be used anymore.
Hisar and Panipat are industrial areas where a lot of ladies are employed as workers in the factories. Both these cities have 4 toilets each that are supposed to be used specifically by women and almost all of them have been constructed during 2005. There are no toilets for women in Jhajjar while Bahadurgarh has 3 toilets that can be used by ladies. Kaithal with 6 toilets is in a better position than Narnual that has only one such toilet. At Jagadhri and Yamunanagar there are 11 toilets for women and 6 of them have been constructed by Sulabh International, an NGO that is well-known in this domain.
Among all the cities and towns in Haryana, Gurgaon has the maximum number of toilets that can be used by women – 12. The lack of toilets presents various challenges for the women. In the cities this leads to serious health issues – since women cannot relieve themselves in the open like the men they have to wait for a long time and that can cause health problems. Also in cases where the toilet is not well-maintained there is a chance of infections and related ailments. In the rural areas the absence of toilets leads many women to defecate in the open.
This has led many of them to suffer from criminal acts like rape since women defecating in the open during the night time are basically easy victims for the criminals waiting for an opportunity. The government till date has shown thorough insensitivity towards the whole issue, something that is evident in its lack of affirmative action in this regard. Perhaps it’s high time that it looks into the situation and try to rectify the same instead of making tall claims and promises that it will never fulfill.