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Friday, September 30, 2022

Access to clean and hygienic toilets for women is a fundamental right: Goa Forward

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Goa Forward Vice President Adv Ashma said that the Goa Forward Party has written to the government to construct toilets across Goa so that Goans and tourists, especially women, have access to clean and hygienic toilets across
Goa every 3-5 km along the Highways and District roads, and which 5-10 mins walking distance in public areas. Government should utilise part of the Rs 100 Crores allocated to Swatch Bharat Mission-Gramin and Rs 37 Crore allocated to Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) for this purpose.

Adv Ashma said that in the recently concluded Legislative Assembly session, Goa Forward President Vijai Sardesai had made similar demands in the house.

During that time, the PWD Minister replied in a LAQ that there is no mandate for toilets along the National Highway/State highway/ major district road.

Former MMC Chairperson Dr. Babita Angle Prabhudesai said that, just three months earlier, the Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S. Kumar of Patna High Court (Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No.8900 of 2020 Order dt
10.05.2022) stated that “this Court is of the definite view that State is under obligation to provide basic amenities to the citizens on the Highways, while ensuring that their right of sanitation/ basic amenities is not defeated.”
The Court directed the Bihar State Government, National Highways Authority of India and the Oil Marketing Companies to consider constituting Public toilets and public conveniences at places easily identifiable and accessible by the
public at large, institute a randomized checking system to ensure facilities and resources’ quality and proper availability and prepare a digital platform furnishing complete information of such places of convenience to the general
public with a provision of lodging online remarks said Goa Forward Leader and
Former MMC Chairperson Dr.Babita Angle Prabhudesai.

Previously, in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL NO.98 OF 2011 23 December 2015) in the Bombay High Court Milun Saryajani v. Pune Municipal Corporation and Others, the court acknowledged that due to the nonexistence of public utilities for women, or where lavatories exist but are rendered unusable due to
safety concerns, geographical non-accessibility or unhygienic conditions, women are forced to hold in their urine for extended periods of time. To avoid using dirty toilets, many women do not drink their daily requirement of water, with impacts on their health, including an increased chance of urinary tract infections, prolapsed bladder, involuntary urine release etc. The Court then accepted the medical science linking these conditions to the deferring of urination and acknowledged that “Toilet issues affect all ‘users’, but more particularly women.

The High Court then proceeded to give detailed instructions on a number of requirements necessary to fulfil these rights, including: the supply of water and electricity, cleanliness and odour, security, tampon and sanitary napkin
dispensers and disposal bins, provision for the disabled, cleaning equipment, signs indicating the location of public washrooms, publicity to the provision of public toilets for women etc.
Former MMC Chairperson Dr. Babita Angle Prabhudesai said that the Goa Forward Party, in its letter to the Chief Secretary, demanded that the Government implement these orders and stated that they will approach the High Court if the government fails at initiating any action in this regard.

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