Indian-style toilets spreading in Manchester

London: The Royal Mail has installed Indian-style squatting toilets after easing out western-style commodes at its sorting depot in Manchester to meet the ablutionary requirements of staff with origins in the Indian sub-continent.

Two western-style toilets have been eased out to make way for the Indian-style toilets at the Manchester Mail Centre, which employs a number of Asians, many of whom avoid western-style toilets and prefer the squatting toilets. "The washroom facilities we provide in Manchester are intended to meet the needs of all our employees," a Royal Mail spokesman said.

The Royal Mail is not the first employer or public space in Greater Manchester to provide such facilities. Manchester airport had installed similar toilets to cater to the needs of Asian passengers a few years back.

The newly-refurbished Rochdale Exchange shopping centre in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, have also installed two Indian-style toilets recently, which is visited by nearly 140,000 people every week, including Asians. It decided to install the toilets in the washrooms for both sexes on insistence from the local Asian community.

The centre`s managers decided to install the Indian-style toilets after attending a course on "cultural understanding and community cohesion." However, the move has not gone down well with sections of the Asian community in Manchester.

The town`s council leaders slammed the decision and Councillor Farooq Ahmed called the toilets "an embarrassment to Rochdale" and expressed concern that they have stirred up racial tension.

"If our views had been sought we would have been against the idea and this is still the case. The council has not contributed financially to this scheme, which has been privately funded by the centre. Rochdale is blessed with a diverse and friendly population. We get on well and respect one another.

"Doing things like this is divisive and does not help our borough. We call upon the shopping centre to review their decision," council leader Irene Davidson said.