60% public toilets in Gurugram unusable in absence of continuous water supply
Although water pipelines and overhead tankers have been installed in each of Gurugram’s public toilets, there is no direct supply of water due to lack of power connection, making these facilities virtually useless to the public.Updated: Jul 31, 2018 14:42 IST
As many as 60 of the 99 public toilets set up in Gurugram are rendered unusable in the absence of continuous water supply.
Although water pipelines and overhead tankers have been installed in each of these toilets, there is no direct supply of water due to lack of power connection, making these facilities virtually useless to the public.
The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) officials said that electricity is required to run motor pumps to draw water from the ground. Without electricity, pumps cannot function. As such, many of these toilets are left without running water.
In 2015, following an abysmal performance in the Swachh Bharat Survey — wherein Gurugram ranked 466 of 476 cities — the MCG decided to construct 125 public toilets in the city. It was also decided that 14 existing public toilets would be demolished and replaced by new ones.
This was decided after it was found out that 91% of the respondents to the survey said they were unhappy with the existing public toilet facilities and only 13% felt they had access to a toilet within 500 metres.
Since then, 99 toilets have come up in the MCG’s 35 wards, while 26 others are still under construction. However, the absence of stable power connections, the existing toilets have been of little help in rectifying the situation.
Yashpal Yadav, MCG commissioner, said, “Water is presently being sourced through tankers in those areas where we do not have power supply lines. Electricity for a few toilets are being drawn from streetlights, for which the MCG is paying the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vatran Nigam (DHBVN). The matter was brought to my notice recently, and I have directed officials to make arrangements for regular connections.”
The tankers, which are used to supply water at the toilets at least twice a day, are not regular, officials privy to the matter said. This means that taps often go dry at these toilets.
Reiterating that action has been initiated in this direction, Naresh Pankaj, sanitation consultant, MCG, said, “In my knowledge, a demand letter to DHBVN has been sent on Friday, urging it to provide power connection to the toilets. However, I can’t precisely say how much time it will take for them to provide regular power supply.”
Meanwhile, officials of DHBVN confirmed that they have received a request for power connection from the MCG. “Giving connection lines for power is a routine matter for us. The online request from the MCG is being looked into and, accordingly, power lines will be provided for each of the toilets mentioned in the application,” KC Aggarwal, superintending engineer (operations), DHBVN said.
However, Aggarwal did not give a timeframe for setting up these connections.
A contractor with the MCG, who handles public toilets in Civil Lines, speaking on the condition of anonymity, revealed that concessionaires, including him, often have to lock toilets to ensure they are not used until water tankers are summoned and overhead tanks have been filled.
Residents of the city have raised their voices against toilets being locked, taking the matter to their respective councillors on multiple occasions. This issue was also brought up by councillors at the House meeting in January.
Most recently, the matter was brought to the notice of officials on May 30, when MCG commissioner Yadav, during a routine visit of the city, found three such facilities at the Mini Secretariat locked. The civic body had subsequently issued notices in the matter to the concessionaire concerned.
The distress of residents was clearly visible. Anshul Sharma, a resident of Civil Lines, said, “I had tried to use the public toilets outside Mini Secretariat on two occasions. Once it was locked and the other time, there was no water. If such is the scenario right outside one of the places with the highest footfall in the city, I cannot imagine what the situation would be like in rest of the public toilets across the city.”
First Published: Jul 31, 2018 14:42 IST