With the renovation of the Sursagar Lake in the heart of the city almost over, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) is aiming to have the venue ready for the annual Shivratri maha aarti on February 21. However, the Rs 38-crore project doesn’t include a public toilet though open urination around the periphery has been a cause for concern for the civic body.
The VMC which claims that the renovated lake – with a concrete walkway as well as 120-feet tall Shiv statue at the centre of the water body – will attract a crowd of about 20,000 to 30,000 per day during Shivratri festivities, has not included a public toilet as part of its design plan either in the peripheral track, inside the lake or on the pavement around the massive circle. The VMC, which recently demolished the only toilet near the Pratap Talkies lane and installed a paid e-toilet at the same location, said that it should suffice.
Dhiren Talpada, head of futuristic planning cell of the VMC, which is overseeing the renovation, said, “There is a toilet near the cinema. But people don’t even want to pay Re 1 to use that. They want free toilets or they will urinate in the open. Right now, we don’t have any plans to build any more toilets.”
The civic body’s fire and emergency department, the main centre of which was housed in the heritage building across Sursagar until three years ago, continues to park its vehicles at the spot where the old building stood. Officials of the department said that the space behind the fire tenders has turned into a public urinal for passers-by.
“We have even put up pictures of gods in order to deter people from urinating in the open, but offenders find their way. It is also because the only public toilet is located several metres away and not everyone will go all the way there to relieve themselves. It is unfortunate,” an officer of the department told The Indian Express.
The lake measures a massive 1,057 feet in length and 665 feet in width with an average depth of 12 feet. While the civic body had originally planned to inaugurate it in March 2019, the project got delayed. The lake this year will host the annual Maha Shivratri aarti, organised by BJP MLA Yogesh Patel, and attended by several BJP leaders, including chief minister, every year.
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