For the first time in the history of the provincial metropolis, state of the art public toilets is being constructed to provide the common citizens basic facilities.

The Punjab government had initiated the toilets program after the issues of such facilities were highlighted on different forums.

The CM also constituted committee Khwaja Hassan Ahmad as a convener to finalize the project after duly consulting the C&W and P&D departments.

As per the official documents the administrative approval of the scheme was given on September 2017 while technical sanction was accorded by the chief engineer Buildings C&W department.

The documents further say that physical progress on the construction of the toilets was 50% while the gestation period of the scheme is four months.

The areas where toilets are being constructed in Lahore include Kareem Block Market Allama Iqbal Town, Bara Dari Ground near Mian Meer Darbar, Lorry addah, vegetable market, Raiwind, Dayal Pul, Fateh Garh Pul, Nadra office.

Initially, there is 60 toilets project in Lahore, said the Lahore Division Commissioner Abdullah Sumbal. He said that the toilets are specially designed, user-friendly, separate for male and female and for special people.

Sumbal further said that all European type of facilities also available at the five-star hotels will be available in the toilets like hand drier, sui-gas geysers etc.

Responding a query on financial cost, Sumbal said, the total amount of Rs 50 million will be spent. Talking about the maintenance and cleaners, he told, it would be outsourced. Citing reason for this, he said, the public money is wasted when projects are not carefully looked after.

The issues of construction and their maintenance are equally important to the government was considering outsourcing it, he asserted.

He also said that after completion of the under construction toilets in the busy areas of the provincial metropolis, the number of such facilities would be increased in the entire division and then the province. He said that the Sargodha division Commissioner was also working on such facilities.

Usama Ahmad Ali, a regular visitor or the Shah Alam market said that he is a frequent visitor to the shopping centre. He said that there was a dire need for the public toilets in the market.

He said that he was a diabetic patient he had to respond to the call of nature many times in a day. In the past years, he used to visit the nearby mosques to use the washrooms but after the security issues the doors are locked now and this facility was available only during the prayer timings.

He said that the government should ensure availability of the restrooms in the newly built commercial plazas. Not only the city administration but the local governments too failed to resolve this facility, Usama complained.

Qudrat Bibi, a vendor at Islampura Sunday Bazar, said that the female vendors have to face the lack of toilets issue more severely. “The women vendors who sell different vegetables in the bazaars have become patients for not urinating for hours” she complained. The government should arrange separate washrooms for them, she demanded.

A former LDA DG on anonymity told that in past public facilities like the availability of public restrooms was not the priority.

He said that despite the fact that there were strict construction bylaws but lack of will of the authority and its involvement in other non-issues was leading to this crisis.

He appreciated the government initiative to construct state of the art toilets and urged to increase their numbers in the congested markets and other areas. The government should direct all the petrol and CNG pumps to provide the facility to all people, he held.