The rhetoric of Swachh Bharat amid filthy toilets

Lack of manpower leaves toilets in South Delhi dirty or otherwise locked

October 11, 2014 07:46 am | Updated May 23, 2016 04:09 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Public urinals are still not connected to water and sewer lines.

Public urinals are still not connected to water and sewer lines.

Public toilets in South Delhi are still filthy and many remain closed to the public a month after senior local body officials inspected the facilities and found them in a sad state.

Congress leaders in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation had inspected community toilet complexes (CTCs) and waterless urinals on September 7 only to find them dirty and lacking water and sewage connections.

On Friday, SDMC Deputy Mayor Praveen Rana, Leader of the Opposition Farhad Suri and Sriniwaspuri councillor Indu Verma inspected sanitation in South Delhi. At a waterless urinal facility on Lodhi Road, the stench and filth was so bad that a senior citizen was forced to relieve himself outside the complex.

Another facility at Ashram, which the Congress leaders had inspected on September 7, was still not connected to water and sewers. A local shopkeeper, Harjeet Singh, said the facility had been in a sorry state for three years.

“There is no one to clean the urinals. We, the shopkeepers, are forced to use these as they are the only ones in the entire area. So, we clean them ourselves when the smell becomes too bad,” said Mr. Singh.

Another nearby shopkeeper, Shiv Kumar, added that there were no toilets for ladies in all of Ashram. “Ladies who come to this area have to knock on doors and request residents to use their toilets,” said Mr. Kumar.

At Srinivaspuri’s L-Market, fixtures at a waterless urinal were caked with filth as it had not been cleaned in at least a month. “This urinal is hardly cleaned. The stench is unbearable so no one can use it anymore,” said Inderjeet Singh, a member of the Srinivaspuri Vikas Manch.

Ms. Verma said since the waterless urinal had been given to a private company to run, the SDMC can’t maintain it. “I have personally called the contractors for the toilets and the garbage dumps numerous times, but we are lucky if they come once a month,” said the councillor.

While these facilities were filthy, a CTC outside Lady Shri Ram College was locked. Locals said it had been shut for years, but the contractor had consistently displayed advertisements on its façade. The Hindu had already reported on Sunday that this facility on Kalka Devi Marg, near the Aman Colony police station, was locked.

Mr. Suri said: “What Swachh Bharat campaign are we talking about when we haven’t been able to give basic facilities like public toilets.”

However, the civic body is in the process of taking back these facilities from the concessionaires (Prabhatam Group and GraphisAds). SDMC Commissioner Manish Gupta said there was a long legal dispute between two concessionaires and civic body.

He said on October 1, Prabhatam Group has agreed to surrender 165 waterless urinals, which the SDMC is in the process of repairing. GraphisAds, which had 38 waterless urinals, will be upgrading the facilities and SDMC officials will monitor the work. Mr. Gupta said the repair and maintenance work should be finished by October 31.

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