Activists demand probe into smart toilets construction

‘Coimbatore Corporation spending ₹ 98 lakh to renovate a toilet appears to be extravagant’

The recently released Coimbatore Corporation Council resolutions for 2017-18 showed the civic body of having spent ₹ 98 lakh to renovate the public toilet in the North Zone office on Balasundaram Road.

The then Corporation Council under the Special Officer had approved of the expenditure at a meeting held in January 2018. At that point in time, the term of elected Council had come to an end. And the State government had empowered Corporation Commissioner with powers of the Council by designating him as Special Officer.

In the January meeting that was held without elected representatives’ participation, the Council passed the resolution for ₹ 98 lakh. The Corporation had then said using the money, it proposed to modernise the toilet by installing new closets with health faucets, washbasins, soap dispensers, towels and also providing wi-fi connectivity.

The plan was to showcase the toilet to the State and Central governments as an accomplishment under the Swachh Bharat Mission project in the city.

The Corporation had also constructed another toilet on similar lines in the Gandhipuram Bus Stand at ₹ 50 lakh. With the Corporation sharing details of the January 2018 resolutions, activists have demanded a probe into the expenditure.

Civic activist S.P. Thiyagarajan said the Corporation spending ₹ 98 lakh to renovate a toilet appeared to be extravagant. Even assuming that the civic body had installed the best of tiles, closets and faucets available, things did not add up. This called for a detailed probe and accountability from the Corporation.

Consumer activist K. Kathirmathiyon said ₹ 98 lakh for the Balasundaram Road toilet and ₹ 48 lakh for the Gandhipuram toilet appeared to be over invoiced. The problem with the toilets did not stop with the construction; public were forced to pay for using those when it was clearly mentioned that the civic body should not collect user fee.

Corporation sources said the civic body would look into it if it received complaints.

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