Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

With the six-unit public toilet in the heart of the town damaged and closed, people in Mongar are forced to defecate in open spaces.

People initially used a pathway to the hospital and helipad area but, after their entrances were blocked, people used the gate area near Bhutan Oil Distribution fuel station.  Many also used the old truck parking area above the vegetable market shed.

Some people even use the temporary open pit toilet at the corner of the public ground, which was constructed to be used during public functions.  At night, dark corners between the new and old town structures are used.

People cite the lack of access to public toilet in the town as the main reason behind the unhygienic practice.

A local vegetable vendor from Chali, Jampel Tshering, said she uses the toilet of her neighbour’s shop in town. “It’s not comfortable to use other’s toilet every day.”

She said the dzongkhag authorities need to maintain the old public toilet. “Locking it is a waste of public resources.”

A villager from Mongar gewog, Dorji, said he was forced to buy and eat something from restaurants to use their toilet.

Meanwhile, dzongkhag municipal officials say they would maintain the existing toilets and make it accessible to people soon.

The municipal engineer, Ram Bahadur Darjee, said the dzongkhag had allocated Nu 700,000 to maintain two damaged toilet pots and replace the tile roof with CGI sheet.

He said the existing toilets were closed to people, as some users left used sticks and thick carton boxes on the pot while some defecated outside. “It was difficult to maintain without a caretaker.”

The dzongkhag now plans to employ a caretaker on muster roll payment to take care of the public toilet. “The municipal office also proposed collecting user fees,” Ram Bahadur Darjee said.

He said maintenance work was expected to complete in a month and the toilets would be open to the public after making it gender friendly by separating three units each for male and female.

Dzongkhag officials said the dzongkhag also planned to construct a new gender friendly public toilet near the vegetable market.

An official said the budget would be proposed in the next financial year.