Candlelit public toilets in Chandigarh shame MC

  • Hillary Victor , Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: May 02, 2016 14:22 IST
At some places, shopkeepers are going inside the toilets after lighting candles. (HT Photo)

Even though the UT municipal corporation is trying to make the city open-defecation free, 123 public toilets have been defunct for the past two years. What’s worse, power supply to 43 toilets has been snapped by the electricity department for non-payment of power bills for the past four months.

At some places, shopkeepers are going inside the toilets after lighting candles.

Surprisingly, the city bagged second position on the list of the cleanest cities in India. The rankings were based on a survey conducted by Quality Council of India, which is associated with the union urban development ministry.

Gulshan Kumar, executive engineer and nodal officer for public toilets, said, “We floated tenders and two companies applied, but there are some technical hitches, which we will discuss with the MC commissioner on Monday,” he said,

The toilets in Sectors 18, 19, 34, 35, 36 and 37 have leaking or dry faucets, poor or no water supply and overflowing pots. Some toilets that are functional have been occupied by rickshaw-pullers or labourers.

Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman of Federation of Sectors Welfare Association (FOSWAC), said, “It is a complete negligence on the part of the civic body as they are not taking the issue seriously. We feel ashamed when they talk of smart city. It is unfortunate that in the past two years the body has failed to maintain the toilets. We will write a letter to the MC commissioner to allow resident welfare associations to run the toilets,” he said.

Nominated councillor Surinder Bahga said, “The matter has been discussed on several occasions but the MC has adopted a lackadaisical attitude.”

MC defensive over toilets

In May, 2014, the MC decided to hand over the public toilets to market welfare associations, but didn’t follow up on the decision. Again in July last year, they decided to maintain the toilets on their own, but failed to provide the manpower.

In December last year, 40 banks came forward to run the public toilets under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but they backed out as terms and conditions were not to their liking.

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