Staff Reporter

Maintenance of public comfort stations to be taken up

10-member squad to check facilities in commercial buildings

New public comfort stations to come up

Kozhikode: At a meeting of women's organisations, traders' bodies and other voluntary organisations here on Tuesday, District Collector P.B. Salim announced a host of measures which if implemented will usher in comprehensive public convenience facilities for city residents.

Among the short-term measures which emerged out of the meeting is the formation of a 10-member enforcement squad with the town planning officer, corporation health officer, district labour officer, a representative of the police department, and three representatives each of women's organisations and traders organisations.

The squad will inspect toilet facilities at commercial buildings and shopping complexes in the next five days and urge establishments to take corrective measures, where necessary. It will present a report next Monday to the Collector, and erring entities will be given two weeks to provide toilet facilities for employees.

Dr. Salim said the Mayor had agreed to begin maintenance of existing public comfort stations in the coming weeks and make them fit for use for the public.

The Collector also unveiled a plan for new public comfort stations which he had requested N.M. Salim Associates to prepare. These facilities to be constructed in areas like the Beach, Sarovaram, etc., will have separate sections for men, women and the physically-challenged. The cost of each unit is Rs.6 lakh and the men's and women's sections will have one shower, three toilets, five urinals and eight wash basins.

Dr. Salim said that Sulabh International had agreed to the maintenance of these new units for the next 30 years, if constructed and handed over to them.

While the funds for the three units to come up on the Beach would come from the Tsunami Rehabilitation Fund, the District Tourism Promotion Council would fund the unit at Sarovaram.

Private entities too

In addition, private entities like the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi, Vyapari Vyavasayi Samithi, Life Insurance Corporation, Urban Bank, Calicut City Service Cooperative Bank, Malabar Foodgrain Merchants Association had agreed to fund the construction of public toilets at 10 locations.

The locations that have been identified tentatively for this public-private partnership are Palayam Vegetable Market, Central Market, Meenchanda, Medical College Bus Stand, Oitty Road Bus Stand, West Hill Bus Stand and Corporation Office.

In response to a demand from women's organisations, the Collector said funds from the maintenance fund could be allocated for improving toilet facilities for women at schools, colleges and women's hostels by the next academic year.

He also directed that the pay-and-use toilet facility at Grand Bazaar be reopened by Thursday morning so that over 400 women employees in nearby shops can also make use of the facility.

Women's organisations raised doubts on whether officials would sustain their interest and whether maintenance of these toilet facilities would continue. The Collector came in for praise from civil society organisations for taking the initiative to convene the meeting.