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Thursday, 26 November 2020

Chandigarh MC mulls renovating toilets, but where are the funds?

Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 25

Despite grappling with an acute financial crisis, the Municipal Corporation (MC) has proposed to construct 27 public toilets in green belts and renovate 236 pubic conveniences in city markets.

The estimated cost for the work is Rs19.18 crore, but the UT Administration has already refused to provide the MC with the grant and the civic body does not have any funds in its kitty. Despite all this, the matter is on the agenda for the General House meeting on Friday.

"The requirement may be met from the MC's own funds instead of seeking additional dedicated funds from the Administration," reads the agenda.

An official said since the MC had already allowed advertisement on 55 toilet blocks, they expected about Rs27 crore revenue during the five-year contract period. The corporation might be able to use the funds generated for constructing and renovating toilets.

"Besides, efforts will be made to arrange funds from various organisations and business houses under the CSR and other sources," reads the agenda.

A senior officer said: "We do not even have enough funds for meeting the day-to-day expenses. Where will the money for the toilets come from? We are not much hopeful in this regard."

However, councillor Maheshinder Singh Sidhu, who is also a member of the MC's Sanitation Committee, said: "I suggest funds from the Smart City project should be used for the purpose or the MC can renovate them in a phased manner."

The renovation of public conveniences is due for the past few years, but the MC failed to take an action due to a shortage of funds. At present, most toilets have seepage and broken tiles and taps. Foul smell is one of the main concerns in almost all of these.

Self-help groups may operate toilets

The civic body has proposed handing over the operations of public toilets in its 22 villages to self-help groups registered by the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM). The House will consider the proposal for entrusting these groups with the operation, running and maintenance of the toilets in villages on similar rates as being given to market welfare associations.

from The Tribune

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