As it works towards improving its ranking in the Swachh Bharat survey, Indore may hit a stumbling block as most of the public and community toilets constructed by the municipal corporation here have been found lacking the basic infrastructure.
The last Swachh Bharat survey had put Indore in the category of ‘inspiring leaders’. The civic body wants it upgraded to ‘leader’ in the next survey. In the last one year, the civic body claims to have constructed about 8,000 toilets in individual households, renovated 174 public and community toilets and installed 160 new units in different parts of the city – especially in the peripheral areas, which are more prone to open defecation.
A reality check by Hindustan Times at Bhavarkuan, Bombay hospital and Palasia areas, however, revealed that most such public toilets do not have taps and their doors have handles and latches missing.
The public toilets near Bombay hospital, built just 15 days ago, do not have latch to lock the doors from inside. They also do not have provision for electricity connection.
“The doors to the toilets can’t be locked from inside. The women here are afraid of using them,” said Shusheela Bai, who lives in the nearby slum.
Shusheela added that most of the households in the slum do not have toilets and women prefer to defecate in open instead of using the toilets built by the municipal corporation.
Another public toilet behind Bombay hospital has no takers as the corporation has stopped getting it cleaned. “We have not seen any municipal corporation staff coming here to get it cleaned in the last two years. We no longer use it,” said the guard at a nearby shop.
The condition at another set of public toilets built near Bhawarkuan was not any different. The corporation has set up water tanks here, but the toilets do not have taps. The sockets for electricity connections too were found missing.
The pay-and use public toilets being managed by non-governmental organisations were found to be in a better condition.
Municipal commissioner Manish Singh claimed the toilets had all the facilities. “We had provided all the necessary facilities in the toilet, but it seems the taps and latches have been stolen. We have engaged local communities and NGOs who will be responsible for managing these public facilities. Their maintenance has been given utmost priority,” he said.
In 2014, the municipal corporation had conducted a ward-wise survey and found that nearly 15,000 households do not have toilets. The civic body claims to have got constructed a total of 12,110 toilets.
A senior municipal official said they would declare the city as open defecation free by December 15. He said the civic body would slap a fine of Rs 100 on people found found defecating in open.