India Insight

Mind your pees & queues for the Delhi Games

March 22, 2010

With just six months to go before India hosts the Commonwealth Games, some are already wondering whether New Delhi is loo-ready for the sporting extravaganza.

File photo of an Oxford Circus lavatory cubicle in London.The capital is preparing to host more than 100,000 foreign visitors for the October Games, seen as an opportunity to show off the city as a major global destination.

Authorities have started worrying about the thousands of tourists — especially when it comes to answering the call of nature.

The sight of people urinating by the roadside is so common that residents turn a blind eye to the problem. But it’s not the lasting memory of New Delhi the city’s tourism department wants to give visitors.

To make it easier on the bladder, authorities will soon launch a Delhi “loo-map“, one that will inform tourists where public toilets are located.

The city municipality has also unveiled plans to construct 300 public toilets before the Games. And squeaky-clean ones at that. The loos are to be built in partnership with fast-food chains which will run them and woo customers.

Unfortunately, more restrooms and better sanitation is just one solution. Critics say the problem is poor civic sense and not just a lack of public urinals.

Delhi 2010 Commonwealth GamesJust a few months ago, Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said Delhi residents need an “attitude makeover” if they wanted to prove themselves good hosts for the Commonwealth Games.

Delhi is infamous for ignoring queues, leaving garbage in the street and road rage.

Authorities do want to give it a makeover, one that also involves no urinating or spitting in public by its residents.

Taxi and rickshaw drivers are being trained to be courteous by the tourism ministry. As for the rest, the government is coming up with a list of dos and don’ts which will turn New Delhi into a “sophisticated city“.

That’s the image authorities want tourists to take back with them, irrespective of India’s showing at the Commonwealth Games.

Comments
5 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Forget Delhi, any Indian city would find it tough to undergo such a makeover in six months! These things take years and years of conditioning, and in a country where spitting on the road and breaking queues is almost considered a birthright, this seems impossible! the tourists will just have to get used to the Indian way of life for those few days.

Posted by eternalsunshine | Report as abusive
 

Graffiti with mild rebukes, and images of Gods have been used invariably over the years to dissuade men in India from peeing in public.

But the macho efforts to sneak a way around a bush or in front of a wall far outwits their civic sense and fear of divine retribution.

Loo-maps can only temporarily re-direct the reeking smell emanating from gallons of nitrogen-rich waste on kerbside and elsewhere.

But, after CWG, the nature-admiring men, in their effort to upkeep their manly heroics will yet again open their fly in public.

Posted by RohanDud | Report as abusive
 

Public toilets need to work on commercial revenue model of outdoor media + retail netwrok point . There is no doubt about the fact that social stigma of charity needs to be separated from public toilets rather ,it must be seen as most profitable business..JD Bhardwaj

Posted by jannu1_71 | Report as abusive
 

would privatization of public loos help? would a fine for every pee or spit help? would employing cleaners for minimum wages for loos help? would it help if every gas station is mandated to have a public loo? would it help if a cop in that area is fined if he ignored spitters and pee-ers (sorry, for lack of a better word). We got to ask ourselves… What makes these same chaps refrain from doing all this and more in other countries?
Fear of the LAW perhaps?

Posted by kcbudhraja | Report as abusive
 

I really would like to take an autorickshaw during the Games just to check if all the training worked. And if there’s no mode of transport to get you to the loo, maybe we can have training for the tourists about being one with nature. It could be sold as part of the unique experience in India.

Posted by Gobblygook | Report as abusive
 

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