Even after a year, the municipal corporation (MC) has failed to sign memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the market welfare associations (MWA) to revive the steadily deteriorating condition of public toilets in shopping complexes of the city.
The public toilets in various markets remain squalid with the unbearable stench, leaving visitors sick. Out of the over 200 public toilets in different shopping complexes in the city, 80% of them remain unmanned while some are non-functional.
The officers say “they are helpless” and it would take another five months for signing the MoUs.
Nearly a year ago, in a desperate bid to improve the condition of public toilets, the MC had asked the MWAs to work towards the maintenance of as many as 86 public toilets in the city. But till date, very few associations have signed the MoUs.
Surprisingly, till date only eight MWAs have signed MoUs with the MC and in that too MC has not disbursed any funds till date.
The MC had invited these associations to maintain public toilets after the contract of the agency responsible for maintaining toilets was not renewed.
When contacted, Mukesh Anand, chief engineer, MC said, “We are helpless and cannot do anything as most of associations are not registered with the MC and it may take another few months to complete the procedure.”
However, the market associations claim to be doing their bit.
“We are regularly visiting the officers concerned, but nothing has moved an inch. At present, the toilets in the city are poorly maintained. We request the authorities concerned to exempt associations from registration and devise a system where agreements related to the maintenance of toilets are done in consultation with the area councillor,” said Charanjiv Singh, president, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal.
While the buck is passed in the background, the conditions of the toilets are on a downward spiral.
More than 90% of them had leaky or dry faucets; poor or no water supply; and overflowing pots, making it really difficult for people to use them.
Also, functional toilets are occupied by rickshaw pullers or labourers, making it difficult for visitors to step inside.
The 18 hi-tech toilet blocks spread across the green belt in the city have been abandoned for the past 16 months. It was in November 2013, when Chandigarh MC constructed these toilet blocks with an outlay of `1.1 crore with the same technology that used to construct a 10-storey building in 2012 within 48 hours in SAS Nagar in 2012. Though the work was completed in a month, till date, the civic body has not started operating these blocks due to lack bidders.
“It is three months now, the toilets are not being put to use even after spending `1.1crore. It would have been better had they gone for concrete toilets. It is sheer wastage of public money,” said Pardeep Chhabra, Congress councillor. These toilets are located in Sectors 15, 18, 19, 22, 35, 37, 38, 40, 42, 11, 56, 29, 41, 48 and 47.