Collector urges visitors to cooperate in keeping the campus clean

The hundreds of people who visit the Madurai Collectorate could now heave a sigh of relief as Collector L. Subramanian has asked the Public Works Department to look into the possibility of renovating more than five dilapidated public toilets on the campus.

Speaking to The Hindu, he said visitors should cooperate in keeping the Collectorate campus clean and avoid urinating in the open. They should also not mind paying a rupee or two to use the toilets maintained by the physically challenged or people living with HIV/AIDS.

A government employee, seeking anonymity, said a toilet building in the shape of a hexagon was in existence right opposite the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Prohibition and Excise inside the Collectorate. But all the six doors of the toilet remain under lock and key. “The result is that the people urinate right on the exterior walls of the toilet without minding that it was located adjacent to a pathway used by a number of visitors, including women, to reach many other government offices on the campus,” he said.

A few metres away from it was another toilet building abutting the Information Centre on the campus.

“But it is in a dilapidated condition and no one can enter it. The spider webs at the entrance and broken closets inside force people to urinate at the entry point itself,” he added.

The backyard of the Information Centre remains a place of neglect with liquor bottles strewn all over the place amid wild growth of bushes.

Similar is the plight of a toilet building next to the office of the Assistant Director of Panchayats under the Rural Development Department.

With doors broken and taps stolen, the toilet is being used as a store room. “This place is also full of deadly snakes.

Only one toilet here is in a decent shape. It is reserved for the exclusive use of the employees. The rest of the toilets are in a bad shape,” a woman employee said.

She pointed out that it was a common sight to see men urinating in the open in the Collectorate near the Motor Vehicles workshop.

“The dumping of hoardings and flex boards in the open area has come in handy for men who do not hesitate to indulge in such obnoxious acts,” she said.

The only decent public toilet available in the entire complex was the one maintained by a physically challenged woman near the in-house fire station.

The 27-year-old woman charges Rs. 2 for using the urinals and Rs. 3 for using the toilets. “I get to earn Rs. 400 on Mondays when many people come here for weekly meetings with the Collector for getting their grievances redressed. On other days, the collection is limited to Rs. 150. With this money, I have to purchase bleaching powder, soap powder, brooms, brushes and so on.”

“Many prefer to urinate in the open to avoid paying me money. And those who pay money indulge in all kinds of mischief such as stuffing liquor bottles in the closets, scribbling filthy words on the walls and so on. I have no choice but to put up with this nuisance,” she rued.

A septic tank attached to the toilet had been overflowing for long.

“The drainage water had entered the fire station complex recently. And the stench emanating from it was unbearable. It has now been prevented by creating a bund with heaps of mud,” a fireman said.

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