Residents of various areas within the city complain of public toilets in their areas being inaccessible. Some of the facilities, which were constructed under the Swachh Bharat Mission, remain locked up unable for use, residents say.
At Manickapuram, a residential locality near Melapudur in the city, a toilet complex was constructed recently. However, it has never been utilised by the public, people living nearby say. "We are informed that the toilet complex featured special installations for the differently-abled, and even a shower. But we have never seen it," a resident said. The complex faces an empty plot where open defecation and urination is common, they added.
A total of 358 community toilets and 50 public toilets are present within city limits according to corporation sources. However, the number of functional ones are unknown, they said.
Some toilets remain closed due to lack of sufficient hands to maintain it. "We are not able to get any workers to clean the facilities on a regular basis, and that’s why it is closed," a corporation official told The Hindu.
Meanwhile, L. Chandrasekar, District President, BJP Arts and Culture Cell, claimed that on conducting an independent survey, he found that at least 153 localities in the city had incidences of open defecation. As many as 42 toilets were abandoned while four new ones were locked up after construction. "Is this because they are ignorant or are they apathetic? It is not possible that so many toilets are being unused without the knowledge of officials in the civic body," he said.
The situation is worse for women, who do not have a safe space to defecate, he added.
He has written a petition to the Chief Minister requesting his intervention in the matter, and seeking the creating of district level committees to ensure that the ‘Open Defecation Free’ status is an on-ground reality, he said.
"The committee consisting of social activists, voluntary organisations and government officials must track and keep a check the functioning of public toilets and other sanitation issues," he said. A report must be filed by the committee following which the concerns can be solved, he added.
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