Public toilets fly in the face of ‘smart city’ image

A view of the sanitary complex in Amma Mandapam in Srirangam in Tiruchi.M. Srinath  

With no maintenance whatsoever, the condition of public toilets at Amma Mandapam in Srirangam presents a sorry state of affairs.

Amma Mandapam, one of the most sought holy places in Tiruchi, receives an average of 1,000 pilgrims, mostly from far away places.

On Amavasya days and public holidays, the number of pilgrims swells. November to January is a peak season.

Hundreds of Ayyappa devotees, who visit Sri Ranganathaswmi Temple enroute to Sabarimala, visit Amma Mandapam to take holy bath in the Cauvery river.

Since most of them visit Amma Mandapam bathing gate in the early morning to take part, they invariably visit the public toilet complex to attend nature's call.

The contractors charge users' fee between Rs. 5 and Rs. 10 per person. But, the users of the view that the toilet complex is crying for attention.

Though there is no problem with respect to water, the toilets have no doors. Most of the toilets do have locks, forcing the users to hold on to the door in order to prevent other users from opening it.

“Public toilet is an image carrier of cities and town. But, the toilet complex at Amma Mandapam does not reflect a good image about Tiruchi city. It looks ugly,” said S. Gunasekaran of Dindigul, who visited Amma Mandapam a few days ago.

Since the complex is used extensively, he said that an established system should be in place to clean and disinfect the complex for every ten minutes. But, the ground situation suggested that it is cleaned once in a while.

There are people relieving themselves in the open near the toilet. Some of them complained that the workers of the sanitary complex behave rude, leading to verbal altercations. Some users feel that service charge is high. They also point out lack of enclosure for taking bath in the sanitary complex.

“There is no proper set up to take bath. We are forced to take bath in open. The officials of the Tiruchi Corporation should make a visit to study the ground situation so as to carry out repairs and maintenance,” another user said.