Locked loos mock ODF
Jamshedpur: Most community toilets of Kadma and Sonari areas of Jamshedpur, the home city of chief minister Raghubar Das, are locked, forcing residents of local slums to continue using river banks as their toilet.
The community toilets, for men and women, were built by Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC) between May 2017 and February 2018, each at an estimated cost of over Rs 23 lakh. But with no arrangements made for maintenance, the civic body has chosen to keep them locked.
"Most of the community toilets were constructed by JNAC in haste without making arrangement for maintenance of the infrastructure," claimed Dipu Kumar Singh, a resident of Ramnagar at Kadma. "They simply wanted to complete the infrastructure and impress surveyors during the Swachh Survekshan without a concrete plan for its operation and maintenance," he said.
The result is that most of the community toilets are locked, leaving residents of nearby slums no option but to use the banks of the Subernarekha and Kharkai for their daily ablutions. This makes the chief minister's much publicised target, of making Jharkhand ODF (open defecation free) a year ahead of the Prime Minister's target of October 2, 2019, untenable.
Significantly, since last year, around 37 community toilets, 27 public toilets and nearly 12 modular toilets and 12 portable urinals have come up at various parts of JNAC command areas ahead of this year's pan-India sanitation survey.
JNAC special officer Sanjay Kumar Pandey admitted that several community toilets were lying locked, but said ensuring their day-to-day upkeep wasn't JNAC's responsibility.
"We were mandated only to create toilet infrastructure and bear the expense of maintenance. However, it is for the local community to manage the day-to-day running of the toilets. We cannot simply open community toilets as there have been thefts of electrical fittings and other articles. We are helpless," he said, adding that JNAC had floated tenders inviting organisations to take up the contract for managing the toilets, but none had applied.
Jamshedpur West MLA Saryu Roy's local representative Chittaranjan Verma said he would look into the matter. "We will speak to the local community and form a committee for maintenance of the toilets and arrange for their opening after coordinating with JNAC," said Verma.
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