"People like you and I can walk into restaurant when we need to use a toilet but not everyone can confidently do that," said Aiden Grew, one of the participants in pEtE maatu festival last weekend at NGMA. Aiden is from Canada but has lived in Bangalore for nearly decade. His statement was in response to Just Femme’s question "Where are the public toilets in Bangalore?"
As part of the festival, Just Femme had put up a map of Bangalore city and asked people questions regarding toilets, safety and safe hang outs for women. The map was kept outside the audiorium where Citizen Matters and Just Femme held the panel discussion on "Making Bengaluruwomen friendly."
On the first day the participants marked where the toilets are available, accessible. While availability was an issue, accessibility and cleanliness was considered to be a bigger problem. When none of the participants could recollect where the public toilets on M G road were, Aiden pointed out that he had always used washrooms in the restaurants in the area.
On the second day, the question was "Where do you feel safe in Bangalore?" Majestic area turned out to be the most unsafe, closely followed by Shivajinagar and Cubbon park. Areas like M G Road, Koramangala and Malleshwaram scored brownie points for being relatively safe.
These areas were the favourite on the third day too when the question was "Where do you hang out with your women friends?" Whereas city central areas like Majestic and cantonment were flagged red.
When Citizen Matters asked what the police were doing about such safety issues, Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Suneel Kumar (IPS) said that crowded areas tend to get a little unsafe for women "but we do have police patrolling in these areas and people should come to us for help."
Malleshwaram though, scored high on all three days – be it accessible toilets, hang out or safety issue. ⊕