Delhi Police in toilet torment, women personnel worst sufferers
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet Swachh Bharat project has underscored the need to build lavatories across India and also inspired films like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, the city's men and women in khaki are forced to endure agonising times when answering the call of nature.
Mail Today found that at least two major police stations in the Capital lack the basic facility, compelling personnel to use public toilets outside.
The office of deputy commissioner of police (DCP) traffic, situated in the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib Lane in central Delhi, has over 50 police personnel and officers in the PCR and traffic units. Besides, over 150 personnel from the police control room (PCR) come here round the clock for reporting.
However, the building has just one toilet which is reserved for officers. "As we cannot argue with our senior officers over this point, we have no choice but to use an NDMC public toilet situated about 200 metres away in the same lane," said a traffic police operator on condition of anonymity.
"Keeping in mind the summer heat, if any personnel deployed here suffer dehydration or diarrhoea, they will be in for a torturous time." Sources pointed out that a large numbers of pilgrims visit Gurdwara Bangla Sahib every day and many of them use the public toilet. So the women cops in particular have a difficult time, particularly at night.
The sources also said that the low-ranking women police personnel have a harrowing time during their periods when they either have to request senior officers to unlock the toilet on the premises or rush to the NDMC facility outside.
When contacted by Mail Today, joint commissioner of police (traffic) Garima Bhatnagar said she was not aware of the situation at the DCP office. Calls to Ishwar Singh, DCP traffic of central Delhi, went unanswered.
However, one officer clarified on condition of anonymity that the lavatory inside the premises is locked to maintain sanitation as a lot of outsiders visit the building.
At the Aerocity police station in west Delhi, a constable lamented that he and his colleagues have to present their identity cards to the CISF personnel guarding the Metro building so they can use the toilet there at night. The police station here, with 21 personnel including women and the SHO, is run out of three rooms in the Metro complex.
"There is no space to construct a separate toilet and so we are completely dependent on the one inside the Metro premises. We have 24x7 duties in three shifts and as the CISF personnel are also on rotation, they sometimes are not aware of our identities. We have no option but to show our ID cards to enter and also clarify the purpose of the visit, which is embarrassing," said the constable.
An assistant sub-inspector said the station also has no changing room and she and other women personnel have to use the small room adjoining the duty officer's room for the purpose.
"We have submitted several letters to the DMRC and GMR (airport operator), seeking toilets, five years have gone by and nothing has happened," she said.