Hyderabad: Approximately 20 per cent of the public toilets in Hyderabad have gone missing and another 30 per cent are defunct. The matter came to light only after full-scale mapping, geo-tagging and physical verification.
The detectives to throw light on the mystery of the missing loos were RTI activists Krishna Yashwant and Syed Ali Hussaini, who worked with Hyderabad Urban Labs, a mapping group.
As of now, there are a total of 50 Sulabh complexes, 136 toilets via BOOT (build-operate-own-transfer), 57 by the engineering department and around 60 in the Cantonment area. That’s 303 toilets to serve a city of 650 square km and approximately 3.6 million people.
Some areas have more than two or three toilets. Elsewhere, shops and stores stand where the loos should have been. “When we put all of them on the map, we found that there had been no planning behind their construction. For example, there are many near the Secunderabad railway station and just one outside the LB Stadium. There are three near the Nizam College which could have been distributed to cover other areas,” said Harsha Devulapalli, a researcher at the Hyderabad Urban Labs.
N. Ravi Kiran, Additional Commissioner, Health and Sanitation, said, “Many toilets were affected during the road widening process for the Metro corridor and others. We also have major spacing issues. Sometimes, locals in a particular colony protest against the construction of public toilets. Many are defunct and we are working on that. But there must be public consciousness as well.”
More than 1,000 new public toilets will be sanctioned soon and considering the space crunch, they will be engineering not to occupy much space.
“Many existing toilets are internally destroyed and broken. Some have been outsourced to other agencies which maintain them well, but the rest of them are not really functional,” said Mr Kiran.