Hyderabad: The GHMC had promised to build 1,000 bio-toilets eight months ago to rid the city of men urinating in public. The GHMC had also announced that it would build 50 bio-toilets for women on priority.
Not much has happened since then. A senior official from the city planning unit, said “Property tax collections and the upcoming elections, the Aadhar card linking and other things have kept everyone on their toes. However, things are moving and GHMC will soon start building the toilets.”
Chennai recently installed 348 fully-automated toilets. The twin cities have about 350 toilets including Sulabh complexes, bio-urinals and those constructed in built-operate-transfer model. Of these, 30 per cent are defunct.
However, as per Central public health and environmental engineering organisation norms, one toilet per km is the established mandate.
Even new toilets are poorly maintained. The odourless bio-urinals, 47 of which were introduced by the GHMC on a pilot basis, appear to be abandoned.
Many men do not use the toilets citing the lack of hygiene. But they relieve themselves in the open near the bio-urinal.
“The third party which was given the contract was supposed to clean the bio-urinals with water jets twice a day. However, it is difficult to monitor,” said a senior official from the GHMC.
Public toilets are home for many attendants
Raju (name changed) is an attendant at one of the many public toilets in the city and is wary of strangers asking questions about his abode.
Past operational hours, the public toilet in the Moazzam Jahi Market becomes his home. He says he has been living there for “some time”.
Several attendants live at public toilets and baths in the city. Bags stuffed with clothes and other essentials can be seen at several complexes.
An attendant of a public toilet near the Secunderabad railway station sleeps on the floor outside the bathrooms. “I don’t need to spend on rent or transport and even time is saved,” he says.
A report by the Hyderabad Urban Labs, published last year, says attendants lived in many public toilets. The report said 52 out of 55 attendants surveyed were from Bihar. The report pointed out issues like contracting, sub-contracting of the public toilets and how it has become an established norm.
“I was shocked to see an attendant cooking his food inside the toilet, and performing other chores,” said Sandeep Tanniru of IIT Kharagpur, who was part of the team that researched for the report .
who had researched the state of public toilets in the city during his internship with Hyderabad Urban Labs last year.