Locked public toilets: No respite even after 3 days, shopkeepers protest

  • Hillary Victor, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: May 14, 2014 16:50 IST

Anger, protests marked the day in various markets of the city over locking of more than 80 public toilets by the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC). Even after three days, the MC has not come up with any constructive solution, causing a lot of inconvenience to the public.

The MC on Sunday had locked these toilets across the markets in the city, after the Punjab and Haryana high court directed the agency, which was operating and maintaining the toilets, to hand it over to the MC.

Though the MC chief engineer submitted an affidavit in the HC recently stating that they are capable of running public toilets on their own, nothing has been done. On Monday, joint commissioner Rajeev Gupta showed helplessness to provide 160 persons to maintain these toilets.

Several market welfare associations expressed their anger and protested against the MC’s decision.

On Tuesday, the members of market welfare associations of Sector 22 and Sector 36 held a protest in the markets.

Arvind Jain, president of Market Welfare Association, Sector 22 said, “It is not harassment but torturing public and shopkeepers. The MC’s poor functioning has come to the fore. In case, they will not open it, we will break the locks of the toilets.”

MC chief engineer Mukesh Anand said, “We are holding talks with the market welfare associations for running the toilets and hope that they will be handed over them soon.”

However, general secretary, Market Welfare Association, Sector 36, Anuj Kumar Sehgal said, “How will the market associations run the toilets without funds? No market association will accept their proposal as it is not easy for them to operate the toilet.”

Meanwhile, a delegation of Federation of Sectors’ Welfare Association Chandigarh led by its chair man Baljinder Singh Bittu met MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh, who assured them of sorting out the issue soon.

On the other hand, the agency, Selvel Media Services, who was maintaining the toilets for past seven years, has offered their services to the MC till it comes up with a concrete solution.

18 toilets in parks closed since Nov

In November last year, the MC had constructed 18 toilet blocks with the same technology through which a 10-storey building in SAS Nagar was constructed within 48 hours in 2012, but till date it has not started its operations. The MC spent around 1.1 crore on the project, so that its operations could be started soon. The MC said the toilets were non-operational as no bidder had come forward.

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