Friday, June 26, 2009

Rs 20 lakh for two ‘star’ toilets

Rs 20 lakh for two ‘star’ toilets
G Manjusainath , Bangalore, DH News Service:

Probably these would be the costliest public toilets Bangalore ever had. Built by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) at a whopping Rs 20 lakh, these should definitely qualify for the five-star tag at least going by the money claimed to have been spent on them.

These ‘star toilets’ are coming up in Rajajinagar near ESI Hospital and BESCOM office. With a built-up area of around 400 square feet, each of these toilets has been constructed at a cost of Rs 10 lakh. The expenditure per square feet works out to be Rs 2,710, the rate offered by real estate developers for flats in the City.

But why the high price tag? Land is not an issue, because the land for the public toilets built by the BBMP, belongs to the Palike itself. Since the toilets have been built on the footpath, the length of the water supply line and sewerage line from the BWSSB is reduced, Srinivasan, chartered engineer and registered valuer, noted. After a site inspection, he assessed that that under any circumstance, the cost of each of these public toilets cannot exceed Rs 6.31 lakh. According to him, the structures of each of these single-storeyed load bearing buildings costs Rs 2.59 lakh. The sanitary fittings, power connection, electric wiring and fittings, overhead tank costs somewhere around Rs 2.2 lakh per toilet. If the cost index of Bangalore as on date of inspection (May 15, 2009) is included, an extra sum of Rs 1.18 lakh can be added for each construction. Srinivasan claimed that the cost of each toilet should be Rs 6,30,475.

“The estimated expenditure of Rs 20 lakh for these two public toilets, is considered very high as residential buildings with nice toilets are available in the City at this price range,” he asserted. According to the sign board put up near the toilets, construction began on February 7 this year and was supposed to be finished on May 7 this year. However it is yet to be completed.

When contacted, engineer-in-chief of BBMP sought two days’ time to inspect and find out the ‘truth’. Rajaji Nagar Executive Engineer Gurunatha said details of not this particular toilet but of the toilets across the area must be displayed.

However, Srinivasan said the board near one of the toilets specifically mentions the toilets at Ward-15, Rajaji Nagar, in the west side of the ESI hospital, 2nd stage and 12th main. “This money has been spent on these two particular toilets,” he claimed.
He has sent the copy of his detailed observation to the Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde and the BBMP Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena seeking and action.


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