Monday, January 18, 2010

A loony action

A loony action
The civic body is building a public toilet bang in the middle of a road in Srinagar, despite protests from residents
B K LAKSHMIKANTHA


Don’t take a sudden right turn at the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) health centre at Muneshwara block near New Timber Yard Layout in Srinagar: You may crash into a toilet under construction, right on the road. With the public toilet occupying half the road, residents are finding it hard to use this road. Despite protests from residents, the BBMP went ahead with the construction work at the 10th cross in Muneshwara block, behind the corporation health centre.
An official from Patel Gullappa College, which is on the road, said, “I have not seen any corporation constructing a public toilet that blocks the road. This is the completely unscientific. The corporation has encroached the road it built for public transport.”
The official’s views are echoed by Jagadish Kumar, owner of the nearby Sri Mariyappa and Sons timber yard. His suggestion that the toilet be built near Srinagar bus stand, where more people could benefit from it, fell on deaf ears. Ten days ago, he experienced first-hand the result of BBMP’s unscientific toilet. A truck driver crashed into the compound of Jagadish’s timber yard while trying to avoid the new toilet.
When Jagadish approached the workers building the toilet, the latter washed off their hands saying they were not responsible and all queries should be directed to the BBMP engineer concerned. When he met the engineer, the latter asked him to contact the local MLA. Jagadish said, “It is absurd how BBMP is run by officials who don’t even know where to construct a public toilet.”
UNSCIENTIFIC PLAN
“We decided to construct a public toilet at a cost of Rs 10 lakh. We made the sketch and estimated the cost called for tender, but there was no response from any contractors. So we handed over the construction project to the Karnataka Land Army,” said BBMP Assistant Executive Engineer Muthurajanna, who justified the construction, saying the residents opposed construction of the toilet in two places in the area. “So we planned to construct it behind the health centre,” he added.
When the BBMP called for tenders, there was no response from the contractors. It then handed over the construction work to the Land Army in December and gave it three months to finish the work.
Land Army superintendent Umesh, in-charge of the construction, said, “The BBMP gave the plan and we are only executing the work. As there was no place to construct the toilet, Vijayanagar constituency MLA M Krishnappa suggested this place during a meeting with the BBMP and local leaders from the area. The public used to throw garbage and urinate in the area, making the place dirty. So they decided to construct the public toilet there to avoid the nuisance.”
However, MLA Krishnappa claimed there was no opposition to the toilet from the public. It was located in an isolated place and would not cause any inconvenience to anybody. The toilet would also help the students of the nearby school, he added.

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