Washrooms of South Delhi hotels and restaurants to turn into a public toilet from the next month. Anyone can pay up to Rs. 5 and get access to these amenities.
This move is going to make more than 4,000 toilets accessible to the public. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation said that it would implement the rule by adding a provision to this effect in the health trade licenses issued to these establishments.
"The licence has a condition that the corporation can modify it anytime. The move will be particularly beneficial for women who face problems due to lack of toilets in marketplaces," SDMC commissioner Puneet Kumar Goel says.
The restaurant managements, however, reacted with scepticism and reluctance with the enforcement of this move on them.
"This will violate our basic right to keep the rights of admission reserved. Besides, it will also raise issues regarding security," said Riyaaz Amlani, president of the Restaurants Association of India.
The Civic officials said that the lieutenant governor Anil Baijal had asked the SDMC to explore the possibility of opening the toilets in restaurants and hotels to general public. The decisions were taken after discussions.
The restaurant association, however, stated that they would implement their course of action after studying the move.
"I appreciate the intent behind the move. Even now, people don't have to buy food to use our toilets. But forcing it on private enterprises is wrong. We will look at the details to see whether our fundamental rights of admission and security are being violated," Amlani said.
The south corporation has allotted 4,586 health trade licenses to establishments which include hotels and restaurants.
"Many of these places are small and do not have toilets. But more than 4,000 of them have toilets which will be opened for public use without any burden on tax-payers," Goel said.
The facility can be provided for free. But the restaurant authorities wouldn’t be allowed to charge more than Rs. 5 from each user.
"Maintenance charges in restaurants usually vary depending on the restaurant but we have decided to keep it at Rs 5 otherwise people from the lower economic groups would not be able to use the facilities," he added.
The restaurants will also have to put a board stating that the toilet facilities are available in their restaurant.
"Currently such provisions are available in some European nations. This innovative and trend-setting move may also encourage other civic bodies to follow suit elsewhere in Delhi and other cities," Goel added.