Himansu Shekhar Rout

Most of the community toilets, built at several places under the Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) with utilisation of lakhs of rupees, are allegedly lying unused for local people, traders and people coming from outside. Most of them are in dilapidated condition for lack of maintenance and repair.   

As per reports, some Sulabh Souchalayas (community toilets) are covered with trees while others are choked with discarded articles and garbage. Over 10 such toilets are in various parts of the BeMC.

The case in point is the three-year-old toilet near Penduru Gadai market in the Bada Bazaar area. Locals alleged that since its floor has broken and water is scarcely available, the toilet is of no use to people and traders. Over Rs 15 lakh was spent on the toilet three years ago.

Rabindra Sahu , a trader of Bada Bazaar Deshi Behera Sahi, and Sankar Das, a resident of Gramadevi Sahi alleged that most of the toilets resemble haunted houses due to their deplorable condition. They alleged that people have to suffer due to defunct facilities, but the BeMC authorities are doing little to repair them.    

 A toilet near the Old Bus Stand was set up two years ago at a cost of Rs 4.78 lakh. However, the toilet is not in a condition for public use after its furnishings were stolen with water unavailable at the facility.

Also Read: ‘Commode protest’ held outside CMC office over defunct public toilets in Cuttack

BeMC Commissioner J Sonal said, “In the course of time, the toilets have become defunct. I admit that our service delivery system should be improved. Community toilets will be made under SBM. Toilets with good infrastructure will be done which will be run and maintained by agencies and SHGs. We are not collecting user fees. It is the responsibility of all to ensure their good condition. As part of joint efforts, we should work together for well-maintained toilets.”

Report by Shankar Das