Mumbai restaurateurs' react to Delhi's order of using restaurant toilets for free


Women and children in Delhi can now access toilets of hotels and restaurants free of cost. This is because, starting from May 1, women and children won't have to hunt for public conveniences in busy markets in south Delhi as they can access toilet facilities at hotels and restaurants in the area for free.

The move by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has been taken as part of its efforts to boost the Swachh Bharat campaign in its area. SDMC said that the move will now make available for use an additional over 3,500 toilets accessible to public, according to a PTI report.

Riyaaz Amlani, President of National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) has supported this initiative of SDMC because women find it difficult to locate a clean public toilet for use, according to a report in Hindustan Times. Amlani was also quoted as saying that though this move is by means a replacement for public sanitation, yet the body is gladly and willingly taking this step forward to uphold the dignity of women and make necessities like toilets available to them. SDMC’s idea to charge a nominal fee from the customer using a restaurant’s lavatory was rejected.

While south Delhi restaurants were asked to open up their washrooms to women and kids, Mumbai restaurateurs reacted in different ways to this idea.Zorawar Kalra, founder and managing director of Massive Restaurants that runs restaurants like Farzi Cafe, PaPaYa, Masala Library, and Masala Bar, was quoted in the report saying, "Not only we been following this without needing any directive from a government body across cities, we also believe that customers should not be charged at all for using the restrooms, on humanitarian grounds."However, others feel that the order is pointless because this might not work across cities. Dilip Datwani, President of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI), was quoted saying in the report that such an order could is like ‘infringement of business interests’. “Where is the owner’s discretion to reserve right of admission?” the publication qupted him as saying. On the other hand, 5 star hotels have always allowed women to walk-in to their toilets. Vishal Dudeja, PR manager for The Lalit in Mumbai, was quoted saying “We have always made it a point to welcome guests and patrons irrespective of the nature of their visit. It is imperative for us to be hospitable to everyone in exactly the same way, as long as security is not compromised.”

(With agency inputs)

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