UK toilet politics: Indian-style commodes scrapped



London: A major shopping centre in Greater Manchester has pulled the flush on plans to install Indian-style commodes in view of public backlash against the move to cater to the preferences of people with origins in the Indian sub-continent.

Manchester has a significant minority of Asian origin. The Manchester airport and Royal Mail have installed Indian-style commodes, but the Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre has decided against providing the facility to its customers.

Managers of the centre had planned to install the Indian-style commodes along with western ones in its newly refurbished toilet blocks after undergoing cultural awareness training.

The plan, however provoked protest across Britain.

The commodes, which have already been installed, will be scrapped and When the refurbished toilets open, they will not be available for use, reports from Manchester said.

The shopping centre is visited by nearly 140,000 people every week, including Asians.

The Rochdale Council had been against the idea, but was not consulted when the plans were put into operation.

The council reportedly put pressure on the centre's parent company, DB Estates, to rethink the idea.

Council Leader Irene Davidson appealed for the decision to be overturned, and said if the council had been consulted, it would have been against the installation of the pans.

The refurbishment of the toilets was paid for by the shopping centre.

Responding to the latest development, deputy council leader Ashley Dearnley said: "I'm really pleased that the shopping centre have realised that this was the wrong thing to do in every respect, both for the town and race relations."

Davidson said: "I have had one threatening and one extremely rude letter about these and I would like an apology from the Exchange because they have yet to say publicly that they were responsible.

"The toilets are there but they will not be used, and their future is short. I am absolutely shocked at how the council has been treated".

She added: "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."

Councillor Farooq Ahmed called the toilets 'an embarrassment to Rochdale' which had stirred up racial tension.

PTI