FOLLOWING A slump in the reconstruction of dilapidated public toilets and construction of new ones, the BMC has decided to hire contractors to undertake minor repairs of toilets across the city. The idea is to make these toilets available to the public as many of them are either being repaired or reconstructed.
Last week, the BMC had discussed the ongoing progress of construction and major structural repairs of public toilets during the civic chief’s review meeting.
A senior official from the solid waste management (SWM) department, who was part of the review meeting, said: “Since the construction of new toilets is happening at a slow pace, we want to make sure that the existing public toilets that are structurally good but have minor issues like problems with the doors, latches, tiles, lights, taps or pipelines get fixed,” he said.
“Since the dilapidated toilets will be shut, refurbishing the existing toilets will help residents. Seven zonal contractors who will look after these repair works will be soon appointed,” he added.
The official said that the contractors will do the repair works in all the 24 administrative wards covering the city. “Assistant municipal commissioners of all the wards have been asked to prepare a list of such toilets which require minor repair,” he added.
The BMC has awarded a contract of Rs 573 crore for constructing around 22,800 new toilets seats across the city. “The civic body has floated 38 tenders for construction, reconstruction of dilapidated and major repairs of toilets. However, less than 50 per cent have received responses from the contractors,” an official said.
“The issue of delay was discussed in the Standing Committee meeting. Corporators have demanded that the pace of the work should be increased as people, especially those living in the slums, are facing problems due to shortage of toilets. Many contractors have refused to construct toilets as they face land issues and other problems in these areas,” the official added.
In April, two persons were killed in Bhandup after a toilet caved in, following which the BMC had ordered a structural audit of all the public toilets. The audit had revealed that of the 934 community toilets, 423 needed to be demolished since they were found to be extremely dangerous and in dilapidated condition. Of this, at 346, M-east (Govandi, Mankhurd) has the maximum of dilapidated toilets.
Subsequently, the BMC started appointing contractors to demolish, construct, reconstruct and repair the toilets. However, the contractors have failed to work at the desired pace.
Serious concerns have also been expressed over the quality of the construction work. In February, 2017, three people had died after a septic tank of toilet collapsed in Mankhurd.