Anantnag: Municipal Committee Pahalgam (MCP) in 2018 constructed several community type public toilets (CTPTs) at different locations in the world famous tourist spot.
The CTPTs were constructed under central sponsored Swatch Bharat Mission (SBM) and were aimed to eliminate open defacation by the people, including tourists.
The contract for construction these toilet blocks had been allotted to a local non government organization (NGO). As per the terms and conditions of the contract, the NGO which constructed the toilet blocks was also supposed to operate them. However, three years after the completion of these toilet blocks, constructed at the cost of Rs 13 lakh each, all of them remain locked.
Local residents have questioned the MCP for its failure to make these public conveniences functional.
“One wonders why authorities wasted such a huge amount on these public toilets if they had no plans to throw them open after completion,” said a local activist, Mushtaq Pahalgami.
Another resident, Zahoor Ahmad said that absence of public toilets tourists face many difficulties.
Though there are some decades old public toilet blocks functional but there condition is too unhygienic to be used.
“There are some old toilet blocks here but they are almost useless due to their bad condition. And the new ones continue to be remain locked. This absence of toilet blocks here results in open defecation by the tourists,” said Ahmad.
Executive officer, MC Pahalgam, Tafweez Ahmad Mir, said that the NGO which had constructed these CTPTs were supposed to run and maintain them as well.
“The NGO had agreed to all our conditions before taking up the contract.
But after finishing the constructions they locked these toilets and fled. They are missing since then. I have joined here only four months ago and soon after joining I took a serious note of it,” the EO said.
He said that he has served two notices to the NGO asking it make these CTPTs functional.
“So far there is no response from NGO to our notices. I would have unlocked these facilities and made them operational but i want to follow the law so that the said NGO does not create any legal barrier later,” the officer said.
He said that MCP is also mulling to rebuild the new toilet blocks near the locations of old toilets which are now in very bad condition.