All women and children can now use washrooms in any hotel or restaurant, including 5-star ones, in Guwahati for free Credit: Representational image

Guwahati: Guwahati, the largest city in Assam and also the largest metropolis in Northeast India, has taken another big step towards becoming women and children friendly. Now, it will be mandatory for restaurants, hotels or shopping malls in the city to give free access to their toilet facilities.

This was recently announced by Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) commissioner Debeswar Malakar. All women and children can use washrooms in any hotel or restaurant in the city, irrespective of their star status, for free, he said.

The move is aimed at making the city women and children friendly. If any hotel, restaurant or shopping mall refuses to provide the service, then penalties would be levied, Malakar was quoted as saying by media reports.

Although 33 bio-toilets have been installed in the city, that is not enough to serve the purpose, Malakar said. “To accommodate more, this decision has been taken,” he added.

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As per the Centre’s guidelines, toilets of hotels and restaurants, irrespective of their star category, have to allow the general public to use their facilities. The provision for the same has already been included in their trade licences.

Two years ago, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation took a similar initiative, where it issued directions to all hotels, restaurants and eateries in its jurisdiction to make their washrooms accessible to the public.

Initially, the idea was to allow ‘pay and use’, and also to allow men to use the facility, but after certain objections by the restaurants and hotels associations, the right to admission was given to women and children only.

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