Failing to get any response from the banks which were asked to maintain public toilets in Chandigarh, the Municipal Corporation has now invited bids from private contractors for the operation and maintenance of 137 public toilets in the city.
The bids will be opened on Monday. This time, the person maintaining the toilets will be given around Rs 14,600 per toilet per month. This will include profit of 10 per cent to the contractor and the routine cost of cleaning as well.
Gulshan Kumar, executive engineer of the civic body, said, “Apart from this, the labour that is deployed there will be paid as per DC rates.” No kind of advertisement will be allowed in the public toilets as per the conditions of the civic body.
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Earlier, Municipal Commissioner Baldeo Purushartha had urged the private and public sector banks to take up the maintenance of the public toilets under corporate social responsibility (CSR). Although initially 40 banks agreed to do this in a meeting with the commissioner, they backed out later.
“I do not know why the banks did not turn up after giving an assurance to the commissioner. The bids for 137 toilets will open on Monday,” said Mayor Arun Sood. The civic body has been facing tough time when it comes to the maintenance of public toilets. There are around 240 public toilets.
The resident welfare associations and market welfare associations of the sectors were offered Rs 12,500 per toilet to take over the maintenance of these toilets. But most of them had given up. An official said that these bodies could not be paid as their associations were not registered.
Public toilets in various sectors are in a bad shape. Either the taps are leaking or there is poor water supply. Some toilets have been occupied by rickshaw-pullers, vendors or labourers.
To make the city open defecation-free, now it has become imperative for the MC to make its public toilets functional.
The controversy: The CBI had registered a case against senior MC officials for allegedly causing a loss of around Rs 13.66 crore to the state exchequer by awarding tenders to the company for maintaining sanitation of 86 public toilets for five years in 2007.
The company, Selvel Media, was given the work to maintain toilets for around Rs 8,000 per toilet with an enhancement of 10 per cent every year for five years. After five years, the maintenance cost became Rs 12,000 per month. When the tenders were floated again, three companies applied and again Selvel Media got the contract for Rs 17,303 per toilet with similar conditions.