Privatisation of Chennai’s public toilets will be a great relief.

Around 8000 plus public toilets, in 832 locations are to be handed over to private corporations for maintenance. Currently the public toilets are maintained by civic bodies that are often seen as filthy, shady and unclean toilets that cannot be used. Some of the toilets are even charged with a minimum of Rs 5 or 10 per person, yet remains in a completely non-usable condition.

Some users complain that they even fall sick after using these toilets and there are sharp, rusted protruding irons that make the situation even worse.

In a move to control this situation, the civic body will be floating tenders to invite private agencies who will bid for 8600 public toilets, for lowest amount possible. While the decision will act as a relief for the users, the question that arises is whether the private entities will be given enough freedom to use better technology and equipment that will help the workers or the scavengers.

The maintenance of toilets of 15 zones will be given to 6 separate contractors who may charge some fee ranging between Rs 2 to 5 from the users, but of course will be free in specific areas like slums etc, said sources. And, apart from this separate entity will overlook the maintenance of these toilets.

Given the fact that public toilets are the major victims of vandalism and destruction in the name of protests and fights, the civic body will be tidying them up before handling to the private entities, said officials.