By Subiksha Ramakrishnan
“People are well aware that they shouldn’t urinate in public but when there aren’t enough toilets around, where will they go?” asks Sreenivas Alavalli, a member of NGO Janaagraha. But there could be a solution in sight as the Shubhra Bengaluru Scheme will bring public toilets to many parts of the city soon.
“Funds are not an issue, the government is ready to allocate Rs 100-120 crore, out of which Rs 80 crore will be used only for building the toilets under Shubhra Bengaluru Scheme,” explains D Randeep, BBMP Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management). The best part about this initiative is that toilets can be geolocated with the help of google map. All people will have to do is type SBM toilets and they will get directions to the closest one. There will also be signboards showing directions and distance to reach the nearest toilet, he adds.
The primary focus is to keep the areas around lakes, parks, and playgrounds clean. “Several citizens have complained that they were unable to walk peacefully on the footpath due to the urine spots on the footpath and also due to the broken footpath in the several areas,” Randeep says, adding that the focus will hence be on building toilets around these worst-affected areas. Then the additional toilets will be built according to the need, the official adds.
“The initiative is a progression towards making the city cleaner. It will not get clean overnight but there will be a lot of progress and cleanliness in the city soon,” Randeep says.
The initiative will be led by the public as they will be the ones to identify the spots where the toilets are needed and inform the BBMP through ichangemycity.com. As part of the scheme, BBMP will also convert the unused BMTC buses into mobile toilets in certain localities. This will ensure each area has multiple toilets and for both genders.
The officer hopes the public conveniences will be opened up from March 2021 in various localities.
Alavalli, meanwhile, suggests a participatory budget campaign focusing on building toilets around the city to provide people with good maintenance and operational facilities. However, at the moment the need is to make people aware of these facilities as much as possible, he adds.
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