HYDERABAD: In a whacky turn of events, over 5,000 public toilets are missing in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits and ironically, officials seem to be completely clueless about the fact. Even more baffling is the fact that though these so-called toilets are non-existent, the corporation is paying Rs.2.2 crore per month towards their maintenance.
The civic body, in January last year, claimed that about 7,800 public toilets had been installed at 3,500 locations across the municipal corporation limits and efforts were on to meet the target of 10,000 toilet seats set by the state government. It even claimed that the city now had the highest number of public toilets than any other city in the country. Most of these facilities have been installed under build operate and transfer basis involving different agencies.
The corporation has been paying `8,000 per seat towards their maintenance. Though the installation of 10,000 seats across GHMC limits should have been completed by January, the efforts to meet the target were delayed mainly due to Covid-19 pandemic. Officials informed the GHMC that the balance 2,200 odd toilet seats would be installed at the earliest and tenders were already floated to execute the works. Apart from creating these facilities, the municipal corporation also prioritised their maintenance and the task has been entrusted to different agencies, including a few self-help groups. Under this initiative, the estimated total expenditure is about `2.2 crore to 2.5 crore. Of the 6,000 new public toilets, around 1,000 have been installed in LB Nagar zone, 1,000 in Kukatpally zone, 1,034 in Charminar zone, 1,000 in Serilingampally zone, 905 in Khairatabad zone and 1,032 in Secunderabad zone.
However, as per the latest records, the civic body currently has 532 toilets in LB Nagar zone, 351 in Charminar zone, 201 in Khairatabad zone, 449 in Serilingampally zone, 437 in Kukatpally zone and 203 in Secunderabad zone. Overall, the city has only 2,173 toilets and 5,512 seats.
“Despite inviting tenders, private agencies did not turn up to take up maintenance of public toilets,” an official said, requesting anonymity. When asked about the missing toilets in the city which were extensively used for the political campaigning during the corporation polls in 2020, the official said he was just acting according to the instructions of his higher authorities. When asked about paying Rs.2.2 crore despite removing over 5,000 toilets, the official refused to comment on the issue....