Tuesday, September 26, 2006

...without a paddle

The British introduced the first sanitation Bill in India in 1878, which made the construction of toilets compulsory even in huts in Calcutta (now Kolkata), then the capital of India. The Bill also proposed the construction of public toilets. The Interstate Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Service) Act, 1979, mandates toilet and washing facilities at all workplaces, including construction sites. The Sanitation Act that made dry latrine and its manual cleaning a punishable offence came in 1993. But this law remains only on paper. Even today about six lakh scavengers lift night soil from over 72 lakh dry latrines in 2,587 towns.

Read this Frontline article for more on the sorry state of sanitation in India.

Reflections on a train toilet

My brother, a formidable loo-goer, wrote the following poem when he was in college, and had to travel between Siliguri and Benares quite frequently.


Crouched upon my lofty perch
Vulnerable to every lurch
How am I supposed to hit
The centre of the hole with shit ??