Urinating in the open prevalent in streets around the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple

: It was around 4 p.m. on Wednesday evening when a well dressed gentleman walked up to the West Tower Street and West Avani Moola Street junction, urinated on the road side next to two garbage bins and walked back without any concern for the residents, traders and more importantly the tourists who are forced to bear the disgusting odour.

The menace of people urinating in the open was not confined to this junction alone as many streets and lanes around the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple were facing the same problem. The residents of Pookara lane in West Masi Street had gone to the extent of putting a 20 feet long wooden barricade along the lane to discourage people from using the place as an open toilet.

R. Rajeswari, a resident of the lane, said that she and her neighbours did not even mind narrowing down of their lane in order to get rid of the unbearable stench that gave them sleepless nights. “We had no choice but to put up barricades.

Women, children and the aged could not live here at all because of the uncultured behaviour of some individuals,” she rued.

The owner of a mattress shop on the West Tower Street said that the junction had been virtually turned into an open public toilet despite the presence of a drinking water tank and an auto rickshaw stand.

“The traders wrote to the Corporation officials many times. But every time we complained, they deputed two policemen here just for two days and I need not say what happened after that,” he added.

Appreciating the fact that the Meenakshi Temple had got the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) certification and the four (North, South, East and West) Chithirai streets have been given a face-lift, the locals feel that it is time to clean up the four Avani Moola Streets and four Masi Streets along with the adjoining lanes in order to ensure a clean and hygienic environment.

They also recall that M.K. Alagiri, the first Union Cabinet Minister to have been elected from Madurai Lok Sabha Constituency, had given priority to constructing modern public toilets immediately after assuming office in May 2009.

They hope that more such toilets could be constructed around the temple so that tourists could spend time appreciating the historical significance of the city rather than complaining about its hygiene.