New Delhi, Mar 15: Washrooms of south Delhi hotels, restaurants and eateries will turn into public toilets from next month, with anyone willing to pay up to Rs 5 getting access to these facilities.
Taking this decision, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) said the move would make more than 4,000 toilets accessible to the public. The civic body said it would enforce the rule by adding a provision to this effect in the health trade licences issued to these establishments. "The licence has a condition that the corporation can modify it any time. The move will be particularly beneficial for women who face problems due to lack of toilets in marketplaces," SDMC commissioner Puneet Kumar Goel said.
Restaurant managements, however, reacted with scepticism, with the trade association saying it was wrong to force the 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.
Civic officials said lieutenant governor Anil Baijal had advised the SDMC to explore the possibility of opening up toilets in restaurants and hotels to the general public. Thereafter, the decision was taken after consultations.
The restaurant association said it would study the details of the move before planning its course of action.
"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 issued 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. Under the new rules, establishments may provide the facility for free. But they 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 "prominently display" the fact that toilet facilities are available in their establishment. "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.
Pay and pee at any South Delhi restaurant from next month