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| TNN | May 8, 2016

Bhubaneswar: India’s smartest city is adding new feathers in its cap by taking up sanitation projects. The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding withthe Sulabh International, an organization promoting environment-friendly sanitation across the country, to construct 1,700 public toilets at selected places in the city.

According to sources close to the BMC, the toilets will be located at crowded places, which lack such facilities. Priority will be given to slum pockets. “The MoU will help us ensure a cleaner city. We have all the infrastructures to carry out the project. Acquiring land for the purpose might be a challenge, though. Sulabh International has agreed to complete the construction of the toilets within three months from the date of signing of the agreement,” said housing and urban development minister, Puspendra Singh Deo.

The city earned the tag of the smartest city recently, but slipped to 24th rank in cleanliness among the 73 cities rated under Swachh Sarvekshan (cleanliness survey) conducted by the Centre. However, it topped it eastern India. The city had also obtained less mark in the service category, such as provision of public and community toilets.

BMC deputy commissioner (projects) Srimanta Mishra said the Sulabh International will construct the toilets on Design Build Operate Maintain and Transfer (DBOT) basis. It will take up maintenance of the toilets for 10 years and then hand them over to the BMC. “The toilets will differ in size considering the requirement of a particular area. There will be a minimum of five and the maximum of ten rooms in the toilets,” Mishra added.

People will be given a monthly card to use the community toilets in slum areas. “A family living in slum areas will be charged Rs 50 a month to use the toilets irrespective of the number of family members. For general public, it will be pay-and-use,” said the senior BMC officer.

The BMC will construct 63 more public toilets to check open urination. One urinal will be constructed for every 50 persons.

At present, the city has 22 public toilets while work on 27 toilets is underway. However, the work on 18 additional public toilets has been stalled due to growth of unauthorized structures at the selected sites.

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