Bangalore, October 30: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has finally woken up to the need for well-maintained toilets across the city.
Mayor B.S. Sathyanarayana not just committed to sanctioning funds from his grant to construct public toilets in each ward, but also directed the Commissioner to explore the possibility of maintaining the existing toilets on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis.
The issue was raised by Jayamahal councillor M.K. Gunashekar, who pointed out that of 502 public toilets, only 220 were in working condition, while there were no toilets in the newly added areas. The BBMP is obligated to provide toilets as part of social infrastructure in the city as per the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976. As per a survey, he claimed that the city needs at least 15,000 toilets.
Siddapur councillor M. Udayshakar suggested that the BBMP take up construction of public toilets under PPP. He said that the agencies could be allowed to put up advertisement hoardings on the toilets and maintain the toilets.
BBMP Commissioner M. Lakshminarayan agreed and said the BBMP would float expression of interest from agencies to maintain the existing toilets.
Not too long ago, amid much fanfare, 22 wards were declared garbage-free. This was even announced at a programme launched by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Pattabhiramanagar councillor C.K. Ramamurthy pointed out that there was hardly any progress on field. Though the officials send monthly reports from these wards, heaps of garbage still remains strewn around, he alleged.
Jnanabharati councillor Govindaraju concurred and said that the new contractor, BVG India Ltd., neither had the men nor material to clear garbage from the wards assigned to the company.
Padarayanapura councillor Nazni Begum too complained about the inefficiency of the new contractor. She claimed garbage was being dumped into the storm-water drain.
Earlier in the day, Nandini Layout councillor M. Nagaraj staged a dharna in the well demanding a solution to the ineffective garbage collection in his ward.
Mr. Lakshminarayan said that the BBMP had cancelled the old contracts in 41 packages covering 93 wards. The BBMP officials were now managing the show in these wards. He added that the garbage tenders have been floated and will be opened following permission from the High Court.
The help centres that were recently closed may soon reopen in parts of the city. This was what Mr. Lakshminarayan assured the councillors on Tuesday. Earlier, J.P. Park councillor B.R. Nanjundappa claimed that the tax collected from his ward had dropped to a large extent after the help centre was closed. He said that the tax payers were being put through a lot of hardship as they were now forced to go to Yeshwanthpur.
Responding, the Commissioner said that the BBMP had provided tax payment facility through over 450 bank branches in the city. Citizens may also pay tax through the BangaloreOne centres. “However, if a minimum transaction is assured and wherever there is genuine need, we can explore the possibility of reopening the help centre,” he said.