This Hyderabad man is flushing down the tall claims of authorities about public toilets

Ashok has been approaching GHMC authorities for the past four years with the same question.
This Hyderabad man is flushing down the tall claims of authorities about public toilets
This Hyderabad man is flushing down the tall claims of authorities about public toilets

A familiar face visits the Greater Hyderabad Municipal office every month, but it’s not one they look forward to. 56-year-old Ashok Kumar visits the GHMC office every month to expose the state of public toilets each time after the GHMC makes tall claims about its achievements of enhancing sanitation in the public toilets.

He has been fighting with the GHMC to build at least 2000 toilets across the city.

For four years now, almost every month, Ashok visits the GHMC office without fail with the obvious complaint of upkeep of the public toilets and construction of new toilets. His visits have been so regular that authorities know his grievance before he tells them.

A resident of Secunderabad, Ashok claims that he has been regularly visiting the office since the initiation of Prajavani, a weekly grievance redressal programme initiated by the corporation.

He says that the city doesn’t have adequate toilets, and even the available ones are in poor conditions.

The GHMC has a total of 347 toilets in the entire city, including 109 pre-fabricated toilets, an official from the health wing said.

Ashok says, “According to the Central Public Health Environmental Engineering department, there has to be a toilet for every kilometre. However, the reality is that there are no toilets even for two kilometres. Even the recently installed pre-fabricated toilets are mostly defunct because nobody maintains them.”

He further adds, “I have seen and even took photos of people peeing near the toilet, but not in the toilet because of the ill-maintenance. The removal of the pre-fabricated toilet near the GHMC office, Tank Bund, tells the story of the poor state of the toilets. I took the official along with me to show how bad the toilets were, after which they removed it”.

An official from the GHMC, on condition of anonymity, said that the pre-fabricated toilets are in a poor state because no firm has come forward to take the contract for maintaining them.

“In one of the meetings, an official told me that they lack funds to construct and maintain toilets. He asked me to collect money from the residents and build a toilet,” says Ashok.

However, the GHMC, which claims to be having a cash crunch, has been gifting Rs 1 lakh to the winners of a quiz contest. GHMC recently unveiled a new mobile app, the GHMC mosquito app, in which they would be asking 16 questions and the winners would get a cash prize.

K Venkata Ramana, Chief Public Relations Officer of the GHMC said that it's not GHMC’s money, but donations received from organizations who do CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities.

“People should stop calling Hyderabad a marvellous city or use other adjectives to boast about it. What sort of a city with a population exceeding five crores provides just a mere of three hundred toilets,” Ashok laments.

Recently, the GHMC claimed that they would build 12,000 toilets in the city in a phased manner.

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