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Maintenance of 300 public toilets in Chandigarh: House to table agenda, but tenders floated

UT councillors question the hurry to float the tenders, MC chief engineer says tenders were brought out after taking permission of competent authority and post facto approval will be taken by the House on Friday.

punjab Updated: Sep 29, 2017 13:10 IST
Hillary  Victor
Hillary Victor
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
public toilets in Chandigarh,public toilets,Maintenance of 300 public toilets
The project pertains to refurbishment, operation and maintenance of 300 public toilets in the UT for a period of 15 years. (HT File)

Even as the municipal corporation will table the agenda for maintenance and operation of 300 public toilets for the approval at the House meet on Saturday, the tenders for the same have been floated on September 16 and the bid is scheduled to be opened on October 20.

Resenting the move, councillors say, “How can officers use the power of the House. We are not here to rubber stamp. The project pertains to refurbishment, operation and maintenance of 300 public toilets for a period of 15 years.

Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla said, “We do not understand what the hurry was as it was already delayed by three years and another 10 days would not have mattered. The officers should not take power of the House for granted. We will raise the issue on the house meeting on Friday.”

MC chief engineer, NP Sharma said, “The tender were floated after taking permission from the competent authority. Post facto approval will be taken by the House on Friday.”

It was in 2014, when the civic body took over the maintenance of these public toilets from Delhi-based company as they did not extend the contract of the earlier contractor.

Thereafter these toilets were handed over to market welfare organisation at ₹12,500 per month per toilet as maintenance charges paid by the municipal corporation. But the condition got worse and then it was given under short term tenders to several contractors at rate of ₹18,500 per month for a toilet.

However, the number of complaints started pouring in with regards to overcharging, poor maintenance, against the contractors, forcing MC to float Request for Proposal (RPF). During the visit, it was found most of the toilets were squalid with unbearable stench and not in a condition to be used.

In August, years after ambiguity on the issue over the fee charged over displaying advertisement on public toilet buildings to the contractors, the chief administrator of local bodies, KK Jindal, in a notification, said, “There is no provision in the Advertisement Control Order 1954, that allows the charging of such fee.”

The notification said, “The advertisement fee is a part of composite cost/benefit (VGF) of the project and may not be charged separately.” It also adds “the sizes of these advertisements are also not covered under the Advertisement Control order 1954.”

The advertisement fee issue was pending for several years despite many rounds of meetings between the UT administration and MC officials. HT in its reports had said the advertisements displayed on the toilet buildings were not governed under the provisions of the 1954 order. Three years on, toilets are in a bad shape.

Strap House undermined? Councillors question the hurry to float tenders, MC chief engineer says post facto approval will be taken by House on Friday

First Published: Sep 29, 2017 13:10 IST