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Mrunal Manmay Dash

“Peeing on the wall just for the dogs,” was the tagline for the bus-mounted mobile toilets procured by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) in 2019 with an aim to stop the public urinating in the open.

Just three years on and the swanky new mobile toilets have turned out biting the dust; in some places even providing a safe heaven to drunkards and drug addicts.

As per reports, the BMC had procured eight mobile toilets in 2019 at a cost of Rs 15-20 lakh per unit excluding the vehicle cost and launched them amid much fanfare claiming to provide the public a safe and hygienic space to relieve themselves.

However, the efforts now seem to be just an eyewash.

A look at the abandoned toilets at several places in the Smart City including AG square, Old Town and Jayadev Vihar and it dawns upon the onlookers that the authorities neither had any vision nor any willingness to maintain these valuable assets.

However, the Deputy Commissioner of the BMC, Subhendu Kumar Sahu refuted the reports. He said, “The mobile toilets are not abandoned. They were recently used during the Bol Bam yatra when Kanwariyas thronged the Lingaraj Temple.”

“We will definitely repair them if we notice any leakage or other problems,” he added.

However, the punctured tyres, dust accumulated on the vehicles, missing taps and faucets and the dilapidated condition of the vehicle tells an entirely different story altogether.

Shivananda Panda, a local resident said, “The toilets have become useless without any maintenance. People will only get the benefit of this service if the authorities repair them.”

Bhubaneswar ranked ranked 144 in the Swachh Survekshan Survey, 2021. However, it is doubtful that with such kind of attitude towards cleanliness, the smart city will rank any higher this year.

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