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Loos at Tourism Festival raise a stink

Imphal, December 12 2009: The ongoing Manipur Tourism Festival, 2009 which kicked off on Thursday with an optimistic air of attracting thousands of tourist to Manipur and visitors to its festival is instead imparting its participants and visitors with an embarrassing smelly atmosphere and an ache in the stomach.

While lakhs have been spent in organising the festival, a cursory visit to the four makeshift toilets at the major site of the festival at Hapta Kangjeibung venue in Imphal East district bears no reflection of the huge amount incurred or the dedication behind organizing such a major festival.

Instead the toilets raise questions about the sanitation and proves a major setback and embarrassment especially in front of the visiting foreign participants.




Shameful - This is what the organisers call a makeshift loo


While organizers say that the two toilets at the right corner of the venue behind the Food Court are for gents and the two at the left side behind the Handloom and Handicrafts stalls next to the X-treme sports and Adventure Complex are for ladies, none of the toilets bore signs stating which are the gents' toilets and which are for the ladies.

As such, men could be seen using the toilet for ladies or peeing near the ladies toilet, making the women uncomfortable at approaching the toilets.

There were also no signposts to mark the route to or placement of the toilets.

While all four toilets are walled by plywood, the two toilets on the right side for gents have a concrete slab covering a concrete cylindrical pit half buried in the ground.

But the concrete slabs which house the kumud are placed so high that one need assistance just climbing the slab to reach the kumud.

The inside locks are also not in place and in one of the toilet, a small metal wire has to be tucked to a nail to keep the door closed.

Needless to say, this arrangement needs just a strong tug on the outside to pull the locked door open and invade the privacy of the person using the toilet.

Though the other toilet has also reportedly filled up within the first two days itself and cannot be used, there were still no arrangements for fixing it as of today.

On the other hand, the plywood toilet cabin for ladies on the left side of the festival site are placed above two bamboo poles spread over shallow pits dug in the ground.

Needless to say, the excreta can be easily seen from outside the toilet itself.

As no arrangements have been made to make water available in or near the toilet to flush the toilet or clean oneself, human excreta and lumps of earth spotted the insides of the toilet as well as the kumud making a trip to the toilet a disgusting and smelly voyage.

Empty water bottles were also seen spread inside the toilet and in the case of the ladies toilet, inside the excreta pit itself.

Speaking to this reporter, a participant informed that as there are no arrangements for water for the toilets, people using the toilet on the right side are instead taking water from the water tanks placed nearby for use by the food stalls in the food court.

But for the toilets at the left side there are even no such emergency provisions.

"The whole day that we are here, we try as much as possible not to use the toilet and this is making our stomach bloat and ache.

My daughter cringes and cries at the thought of going to the loo," says an elderly woman running a handloom stall.

There are around 400 stalls divided into the sections of Handloom and Handicrafts, Food Court, Flower Exhibition and Best of Asia Expo each manned by two persons, as well as the volunteers of the Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association (MMTA) and X-treme Sports at the mela site of the Tourism Festival.

This alone accounts for around 800 persons including foreigners at the Manipur Tourism Festival site at any point of time.

Apart from this there are thousands of visitors at the festival, the peak hour staring from 3 pm and running late into the evening.
Imphal, December 12 2009: The ongoing Manipur Tourism Festival, 2009 which kicked off on Thursday with an optimistic air of attracting thousands of tourist to Manipur and visitors to its festival is instead imparting its participants and visitors with an embarrassing smelly atmosphere and an ache in the stomach.

While lakhs have been spent in organising the festival, a cursory visit to the four makeshift toilets at the major site of the festival at Hapta Kangjeibung venue in Imphal East district bears no reflection of the huge amount incurred or the dedication behind organizing such a major festival.

Instead the toilets raise questions about the sanitation and proves a major setback and embarrassment especially in front of the visiting foreign participants.




Shameful - This is what the organisers call a makeshift loo


While organizers say that the two toilets at the right corner of the venue behind the Food Court are for gents and the two at the left side behind the Handloom and Handicrafts stalls next to the X-treme sports and Adventure Complex are for ladies, none of the toilets bore signs stating which are the gents' toilets and which are for the ladies.

As such, men could be seen using the toilet for ladies or peeing near the ladies toilet, making the women uncomfortable at approaching the toilets.

There were also no signposts to mark the route to or placement of the toilets.

While all four toilets are walled by plywood, the two toilets on the right side for gents have a concrete slab covering a concrete cylindrical pit half buried in the ground.

But the concrete slabs which house the kumud are placed so high that one need assistance just climbing the slab to reach the kumud.

The inside locks are also not in place and in one of the toilet, a small metal wire has to be tucked to a nail to keep the door closed.

Needless to say, this arrangement needs just a strong tug on the outside to pull the locked door open and invade the privacy of the person using the toilet.

Though the other toilet has also reportedly filled up within the first two days itself and cannot be used, there were still no arrangements for fixing it as of today.

On the other hand, the plywood toilet cabin for ladies on the left side of the festival site are placed above two bamboo poles spread over shallow pits dug in the ground.

Needless to say, the excreta can be easily seen from outside the toilet itself.

As no arrangements have been made to make water available in or near the toilet to flush the toilet or clean oneself, human excreta and lumps of earth spotted the insides of the toilet as well as the kumud making a trip to the toilet a disgusting and smelly voyage.

Empty water bottles were also seen spread inside the toilet and in the case of the ladies toilet, inside the excreta pit itself.

Speaking to this reporter, a participant informed that as there are no arrangements for water for the toilets, people using the toilet on the right side are instead taking water from the water tanks placed nearby for use by the food stalls in the food court.

But for the toilets at the left side there are even no such emergency provisions.

"The whole day that we are here, we try as much as possible not to use the toilet and this is making our stomach bloat and ache.

My daughter cringes and cries at the thought of going to the loo," says an elderly woman running a handloom stall.

There are around 400 stalls divided into the sections of Handloom and Handicrafts, Food Court, Flower Exhibition and Best of Asia Expo each manned by two persons, as well as the volunteers of the Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association (MMTA) and X-treme Sports at the mela site of the Tourism Festival.

This alone accounts for around 800 persons including foreigners at the Manipur Tourism Festival site at any point of time.

Apart from this there are thousands of visitors at the festival, the peak hour staring from 3 pm and running late into the evening.