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Public Health / Sanitation

Now, women-friendly toilets in Dindigul bus stand

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The Hindu     07.12.2017  

Now, women-friendly toilets in Dindigul bus stand

Ensures hygiene:A women-friendly toilet at Kamarajar Bus Stand in Dindigul.Photo: G. KarthikeyanG_KARTHIKEYAN  

Ten toilets sanctioned as pilot project: seven for Dindigul and three for Madurai

Women passengers waiting at the Kamarajar Bus Stand here need not use public toilets with inadequate facilities any more, for the Dindigul Corporation has installed two toilets with all facilities to meet their entire needs, especially related to menstrual hygiene.

Inaugurating the ‘Sunidhi toilets’ here on Wednesday, Collector T.G. Vinay said that the existing toilets at the bus stand and along highways lacked women-friendly facilities. The new toilets would also protect their privacy with dignity.

The toilets were installed under Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Ten toilets had been sanctioned as a pilot project - seven for Dindigul and three for Madurai Corporations. The low-cost prefabricated structure would have a western toilet, Indian toilet, wash basin, sanitary napkin vending machine, napkin incinerator, mirror and soap. The Corporation would maintain them.

Two toilets had been installed at the east and west end of the bus stand. More such facilities would come up near Amma Canteen at flower market, Siluvathur tank area, near Mochaikottai Vinayagar Temple, Mettupatti church area and 108 Vinayagar Temple campus near Gopalasamudram tank. Based on successthe model would be replicated in other areas, the Collector added.

Technical staff said the superstructure, made of cost-effective ferro-cement technology, could be installed in three to four hours. The slabs were fabricated using moulds and drilled together and brought to the location for installation. Fixing toilets, other equipment, basin and plumbing work were done on the spot. Top priority was given for hand washing as it could reduce 45% of sanitation- related diseases. The cost of each toilet was Rs. 75,000.

If one inserted a Rs. 5 coin, the sanitary napkin vending machine would dispense one. Around 30 napkins had been kept in the machine. The incinerator would reduce the used napkin into five grams of ash.

The machine used minimal electricity and the smoke would pass through a chimney.

 

Corpn.’s lake cleaning expenditure questioned

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The Hindu         20.11.2017 

Corpn.’s lake cleaning expenditure questioned

Coimbatore Corporation’s expenditure to clean a few tanks in the city has caused consternation among a few activists, who have questioned its rationale.

Right to Information activist J. Daniel has unearthed through the Right to Information Act that the civic body had spent Rs. 2.30 crore between May and August 2015 to remove water hyacinth in Valangulam, Kurichi, Singanallur, Krishnampathy and Selvampathy tanks.

Why should the civic body spend such a huge amount when it could completed the very task by roping in non-government organisations and volunteers who were into lake conservation. Alternatively, the Corporation could have bought the heavy machinery, whose cost would not exceed Rs. 1 crore, and save the cost of hiring the machine.

The move to buy the heavy machinery would have been a prudent move as the civic body was the custodian of the lakes for another 90-odd years, as it had taken on lease those from the Public Works Department.

Mr. Daniel also said that the Corporation giving the tank cleaning contract to only two agencies also raised a needle of suspicion. At a time when the civic body’s finances were not healthy, it would do well to show fiscal prudence, he added.

Officials in the Corporation maintained that the move to clean the tanks was as per rules and payments were made as per procedures.

There was no irregularity in those and if at all any was pointed out, the civic body would look into those.

 

Public toilet turns money spinner, Corpn. comes in for criticism

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The Hindu        20.11.2017 

Public toilet turns money spinner, Corpn. comes in for criticism

Hoarding erected at the newly constructed public toilet complex in Gandhipuram.S. SIVA SARAVANANS. SIVA SARAVANAN  

Around 10 days ago, when Siddhapudur resident S. Manohara Manivannan went to use the newly constructed public convenience facility next to the Gandhipuram town bus stand on Nanjappa Road, he was asked to pay Rs. 5.

While exiting, when he questioned the person who collected the ‘fee’, he was told that it was a mistake to have collected Rs. 5 and that it was only Rs. 4. Thereafter when he demanded a receipt/token, a second person appeared and handed over a receipt.

A month or so earlier, when the family of a Coimbatore Corporation health wing employee went to the toilet, they too were asked to cough up money.

The Corporation, however, maintains that the facility is free. If complaints are brought to its notice, it will not hesitate to initiate action against the contractor.

But the story does not end there. Consumer activists say the Corporation has turned a public convenience facility into a revenue spinning machinery, for it collects money from not only public but also from contractor by way of letting out the premises for advertisement.

Coimbatore Consumer Cause’s secretary K. Kathirmathiyon wants to know if the Corporation is so poor to maintain the toilet that it wants to collect from the public by way of user charges and contractor by way of advertisement revenue.

Incidentally, the Corporation rebuilt the toilet with funds at Rs. 50 lakh that came from the Central Government under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Corporation officials, citing the Swachh Bharat Mission guidelines, say the civic body is permitted to generate revenue by way of advertisements.

The guidelines say, “...ULBs (urban local bodies) may also identify land for public toilets and leverage this land and advertisements to encourage the private sector to construct and manage public toilets through PPP agreement.”

But with the Corporation constructing the toilet with government funds, it has no business generating revenue by way of advertisement. And even if it has to, the advertisement has to confirm to norms. In this case, it has not, Mr. Karthirmathiyon alleges.

He adds that if the Corporation is sincere about clean Coimbatore, it should have displayed Swachh Bharat message on the hoarding as its vantage location will reach more people.

However, the Corporation officials maintain that the advertisement is to generate revenue for the toilet maintenance and is in compliance to rules.

 
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