Reeling under the Covid-19 pandemic, the country's financial capital got its biggest ever swank, 88-seater Jumbo public toilet at Juhu Gully in Andheri west.
The two-storied public toilet has 60 seats on the ground floor and 28 on the first floor, making it the largest built by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said Ward No. 66 Congress Municipal Corporator Meher M. Haider.
Mumbai Congress President Bhai Jagtap cut the ribbon for the facility -- catering to around 60,000 slum dwellers in the slum in the vicinity, and each family has to pay only Rs 60 per month for unlimited use.
Thematically designed with cartoon characters like Tom and Jerry welcoming the users, beautifully painted images of different types of fish, cleanliness themed murals and others, the aesthetic toilet has other amenities too, all conceptualized by Haider and designed by Riddhi Associates.
Spread across 4,000 sq. feet of civic land, there is a small waiting area with newspapers, a free Wi-Fi, a TV set in the midst of a tiny botanical garden to keep the surroundings fresh.
"It is not only the biggest public toilet block in the city, but has an efficient round-the-clock cleaning system. While the upper floor is for men, the ground floor is for women and four blocks exclusively for the physically handicapped," Haider said.
Earlier, Haider's husband, who was a Municipal Corporator for around two decades, had arranged to lay sewer lines in the region adjoining the heritage Gilbert Hill slum pockets to push the toilet-at-home policy.
Three years ago, the then biggest -- 55-seat public toilet came up near Gilbert Hill, followed by a 32-seater, the latest 88-seater and 10 big and small blocks with another 324 seats coming up by December -- well in time for the BMC elections in early-2022.
"Wherever possible, the aim is to provide toilets inside slum homes especially for the convenience and safety of women using the funds for the purpose given by the Centre and the BMC. Around 2,500 families here have taken advantage of the scheme and more will follow suit," said Mohsin Haider.
Incidentally, Mumbai has around a dozen toilet blocks, mostly run by private parties, which are air-conditioned and chargeable, and in late 2019, the BMC planned to set up 80 multi-utility air-conditioned mobile toilet vans at major traffic signals, but the plan has yet to take off owing the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
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