IGNORING THE absence of toilets for hundreds of residents in villages and colonies who resort to open defecation, the Municipal Corporation is set to discuss an agenda worth Rs 1.31 crore for construction of toilets in green belts. The issue will come up for discussion at a meeting of the General House of the MC on Monday.
The MC has proposed to spend Rs 1.31 crore on the construction of toilets in 17 green belts. Most of the councillors who represent the villages and colonies maintain that these green belts do not see visitors and the money should be spent in those areas where there are no toilets at all. Already, construction of toilets in 29 green belts at an expenditure of Rs 2.25 crore has been approved.
Toilets have been proposed in green belts of sectors 50,51-D, 35 C and D, 44A and B, 44 C and D, 26 Bapu Dham, Hallomajra, Ram Mandir Park in Sector 47 D, Palsora, 38 West, Dadu Majra, Sector 23. Toilets will also be constructed in Joggers Park, Sector 15, Cycas Palm Garden in Sector 15, green belt near Football Stadium, Sector 17 and near GPO, Sector 17.
Congress councillor Darshan Garg feels that toilets in these green belts was a sheer wastage of money and most of them are not even required. “Here it is so unsafe for the women of our colonies as they have to go in the nearby jungles in the absence of the toilets. And these people are constructing such structures in green belts which are not even used much,” says Garg, who represents ward number 11.
Congress councillor Subhash Chawla, who represents ward number 5, says, “The purpose of building toilets in big gardens like Fragrance Garden or Japanese Garden can be understood. But why build toilets in such green belts where people don’t even come? Priority should be to construct the toilets at those places where there are none. Green belts should come in the end.”
Residents of the colonies express shock over the MC’s decision. “It would be better if the officials come here to our area and see once what people are going through. Other than living in filthy conditions, we know how difficult it is to go in the jungles. It is like providing water in an area where nobody is living while many areas go without water,” says Anil Kumar, president of Janta and Kumhar colony.
During a visit by a Chandigarh Newsline team to various colonies in Chandigarh last week, it was found how residents were staying without toilet facility. At some places, there were 10 structures against thousands of residents, that too without water facility.
The city was recently declared the second cleanest city in the country in the Swachh Sarvekshan, a survey of cities. Open defecation and availability of toilets was one of the key parameters.
Mayor Arun Sood said, “Toilets would be provided everywhere. Since this work would be done quickly, the construction here has been taken up first.”