There are 17 stations, but only six pay-and-use toilets. LIFFY THOMAS reports
At the MRTS Velachery, Prem Kumar’s wait for passengers never seems to end. He is the attendant at a pay-and-use toilet that has few users. He is aware of the reason for the poor patronage: “How will people know of this toilet if it located at one end of the platform?” he says.
The toilet was licensed to a contractor nearly six months ago, after many years of disuse. From dawn to dusk, Prem Kumar mans the toilet, collecting around Rs. 100. He says he is tired of listening to critical comments from users. But he knows they have a point. Recently, rainwater leaked from the walls of the room. There are no lights inside the toilet. “Apparently, the contractor has not paid money to the Railways, so I give my mobile phone to women who find it difficult to use the restroom in the dark,” he says.
Of the 17 MRTS stations only six have pay-and-use toilets. They are Thirumayilai, Light House, Thiruvallikeni, Chindadripet and Beach Station.
At Thirumayilai station, the toilet is found next to the reservation counter. Karugamma, in-charge of the facility, has given up after making numerous complaints about this to the officials. “They are yet to fix a broken pipe in the toilet. Getting water is very difficult and I have it filled in drums every alternate day,” says Karugamma. She too locks the toilet by 6 p.m. as there are no lights. It is a similar story at the Chindadripet and Light House.
However, at stations such as Taramani, Kasturibai Nagar, Greenways Road, Kotturpuram, Mandaveli and Chennai Fort, the toilets remain locked. At Thiruvanmiyur, the toilet is open sometimes but does not have an attendant. At Indira Nagar, a heap of construction material is left outside the door of the facility. At Chepauk, the toilet was renovated spending lakhs of rupees, but never reopened.