Despite being adjudged the best city in terms of providing quality sanitation by the central government in 2010, public toilets located in various markets remain squalid and disgusting with the unbearable stench leaving many visitors sick.
An HT survey found more than 80 percent of toilets in Chandigarh had leaky or dry faucets, overflowing toilets and no water, making the experience of using them a dreadful one. Most of the nearly 200 public toilets in different shopping areas of the city are unmanned.
Three months ago, the municipal corporation handed over maintenance of 86 public toilets to the market welfare associations in a desperate bid to improve conditions. This was done after the contract of the agency maintaining the toilets was not renewed. However, since then things have only gone downhill.
Meanwhile, the civic body has not taken possession of 18 toilet blocks even ten months after they were built on green belts, as a result of which they remain locked.
Charanjiv Singh, president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, said: “It’s nearly three months since the civic body entrusted market welfare associations with maintaining public toilets, but till date the MC hasn’t paid us a single penny for the running costs. Moreover, these associations haven’t taken over maintenance of at least 20 toilets that are lying abandoned. Civic officials had also promised the toilets would be renovated before being handed over to the market associations, but nothing was done.”
Anuj Kumar Sehgal, general secretary of the Sector-36 market welfare association, said: “We can’t continue to pay the costs involved in maintaining these toilets. The civic body had assured us financial support before entrusting us with the job of maintaining them, but even after three months it hasn’t done anything.”
MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh said: “We’ll soon begin reimbursing market welfare associations. Also, we’ll hand over maintenance of the toilets built on green belts to resident welfare associations.”