S. Natarajan

It has been closed for four years for want of minor repairs

It was built at the cost of Rs.3.50 lakh in 2003-2004

Villagers threaten to stage a protest

VANIYAMBADAI: A public convenience for women and children of Thuraieri village panchayat coming under the Alangayam panchayat union has been closed for the past four year. Despite repeated representations from residents, the panchayat has not taken steps to re-open it.

V.C.Anbarasu, former ward councillor, Thuraieri panchayat, told The Hindu that the facility was built at the cost of Rs.3.50 lakh in 2003-2004. This is the only closed toilet facility available for women. The main reason for constructing the public convenience is that houses at Thuraieri do not have bathroom facilities.

Whenever the village panchayat’s attention is drawn to this problem, the only reply the residents get is that it will soon be re-opened.

Mr.Anbarasu said that the public convenience functioned for about a year. But all of a sudden the motor fitted in the public convenience turned faulty.

However, steps were taken to repair the motor. Then the main switchboard became faulty. From then on it has been remaining closed.

The village panchayat is not going to incur much expenditure in setting right the switchboard.

But yet no steps have been taken to repair it.

Funds crunch

Residents of the village say that the panchayat does not take up minor maintenance works. One of the reasons cited is that they run short of funds.

One of the officials says that the funds got by the panchayat are not enough to meet out the administrative expenses. A major portion of the funds goes towards meeting the electricity cost.

“Additional funds are required for maintenance works,” he adds. But the residents say that repairing the switchboard does not involve much expense.

Just for the switchboard, Rs.3.50 lakh invested for construction of a public convenience is going waste.

Mr.Anbarasu said that now residents, including women and children, are forced to defecate in the open. As a result, the village faces environmental degradation. In fact, based on one of the representations, one of the officials from the Block Development Office inspected the public convenience.

Though the official assured to recommend reopening, still the facility continues to be closed.

The former ward councillor and the residents of the village say that they want the village panchayat to take action to repair the switchboard and re-open the public convenience.

If this is not done, they have threatened to stage a protest.