Public toilets keeping citizens away

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Though, the federal capital has more than one hundred public toilets, clearly disproportionate to the population, but they have turned into shambles, as it seems that the city managers have forgotten to ensure their proper maintenance.
A survey conducted by Pakistan Today reveals that there are 125 public toilets in various parts of the city out of which only 58 are functioning but in deplorable condition. There is not a single public toilet in the city, which could be termed as neat and clean. The stinking toilets make it difficult for the visitors though they have to pay for their visit in both terms – financially and medically.
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) had awarded the contract for operating the service to private contractors who cared little about cleanliness. “The dilapidated filthy condition of these toilets is an issue of major concern as they have become a source of various diseases,” said Murtaza Baig, a local.
During the survey, it was learnt that after getting the contract from the CDA, the main contractors struck further sublets to others against hefty payments, ultimately resulting in the current fiasco.
“How can we ensure complete cleanliness when we have to first take care of the contractor’s money, which is Rs 1800 per day,” said Bota, a sub-contractor, who runs public toilet at F/8 Markaz.
During the survey of various public toilets, it was observed that dirty floors, lack of tap water and non-functioning of the installed flush systems makes the facility only the least preferred option for most.
It has been also learnt that CDA had fixed Rs 5 for each visitor but the contractors, in connivance with the authority’s high-ups, were charging Rs 10.
However, the contractors are of the view that the civic body is not providing the facilities committed in the agreement.
“It is clearly mentioned in the contract that the CDA will ensure water supply and electricity to all public toilets but now we are not being provided water,” said Raja Khalid, a contractor.
It is pertinent to mention that the 67 non-functioning toilets either have been locked or being used by criminals. On the other hand, citizens have been complaining that the toilets are fewer in number.
When contacted, CDA Director Sanitation Capt (r) Faiz Ahmed said a committee had been constituted to look into the matter of maintenance of all the public toilets.
“Let me make it clear…we will make sure cleanliness of all toilets,” he claimed. Talking on the issue of criminals using the public toilets as their dens, he said the CDA had decided to demolish eight abandoned structures, which were being used by criminals. During the survey, it was observed that due to the dilapidated filthy condition and high service rates, people preferred to urinate at public places.
“The majority of public toilets are full of dirt and filth. There is always a risk of water shortage that often landed the toilet user into a critical situation,” said Ashraf Khan, a trader.
People also complained that most of the public toilets were closed before the evening and caused inconvenience to commuters. They demanded the CDA ensure round the clock operation of the service.