Mrunal Manmay Dash

Grappling with issues ranging from theft of motors to poor maintenance, e-toilets worth crores - commissioned under Smart City Mission - in the Capital city are now reportedly lying defunct in several places.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation stone for the modular e-toilets project ahead of the Hockey World Cup in November 2018.

As per reports, some of the hybrid toilets for which the government has spent at least Rs 18 lakh per unit, have either gone bad due to non-maintenance or their parts and machinery have been stolen by thieves.

“Just some days back, I went to the e-toilet at Kalinga Hospital Square and saw four people drinking alcohol inside it. There were food items scattered all over the toilet. If we cannot keep our existing infrastructure safe from anti-socials then what is the point in creating new? If we cannot maintain the existing toilets, then there is absolutely no need to waste money in installing new ones,” said a senior citizen of Bhubaneswar.

While several e-toilets in the Smart City reportedly became dysfunctional, the BMC Commissioner Bijay Amruta Kulange asserted that almost all the toilets are working.

Speaking about the toilets, Kulange said, “We have an agency for its (Public Toilet) maintenance and another team to see the mechanical and electrical aspects of them. Almost all our toilets are functioning now. We are taking their real-time feedback through Sahay.”

“The Sanitary Inspectors have been instructed to visit all the public toilets and check their functioning on a daily basis. As far as the future plans are concerned, the BMC is going to install 200 more toilets in Bhubaneswar,” Kulange added.

Not only the Commissioner, but recently, Mayor Sulochana Das too claimed that only two e-toilets out of the 50 are out of order in Bhubaneswar.

“About two e-toilets are not functioning in Bhubaneswar. All the other toilets are working fine,” Das had said on February 6, while inaugurating two more such toilets.