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MCD's 'fancy toilet' albatross

india Updated: Apr 05, 2011 00:10 IST
Harish V Nair
Harish V Nair
Hindustan Times
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It is now the MCD's turn to earn its share of brickbats for the projects it undertook in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games.

The civic agency's failure to build 218 fancy toilets-cum-shopping outlets before the Games has now come under the Delhi High Court scanner. This latest episode comes after the Shunglu panel indicted top Delhi authorities for delays and losses in CWG projects.

The air-conditioned complexes to be built before the Games were slated to have toilets on the ground floor. There would be an eating joint, a flower outlet along with a shop of branded goods on the first floor.

But only eight of these could be built due to protests from several Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) and traders. Most of the chosen spots were on market parkings or parks. Delhi's Lieutenant Governor too had raised objections after hearing out the RWAs.

Later a PIL had been filed by the N-Block Welfare Association of Greater Kailash-1 seeking demolition of the two toilet blocks built in the 1,200-sq-ft parking area of their local market.

This had even halted the MCD's plans to convert the first floors of these complexes into its own offices. Taking a strong view, a bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra has now said, "Any action by the MCD will be subject to the final result of this petition."

Ashok Sethi, the petitioner's lawyer, said, "The whole exercise in the name of the Games was a clear attempt to hand over prime land across Delhi for commercial misuse in the guise of providing toilets. It is nothing but a clear violation of the Delhi Master Plan 2021, which found parking space scarce in Delhi. The plan also prohibits commercial use of public place."

"After finding no takers post-controversy, the MCD wants to convert the complexes into their offices which cannot be allowed. It will create a precedent. If allowed, civic agencies can even have offices near India Gate after first allowing commercial use of a spot, then rectifying and using it for their own purpose," Sethi added

The court has now sought a detailed affidavit from the MCD by April 23.