Mangaluru, July 26, 2017: Reports detail that MCC - Mangaluru City Corporation in a tight spot; NHAI - National Highways Authority of India has placed conditions to the civic body with regard to its plans to build public toilets under flyovers under the Swachh Bharat mission.
The NHAI authorities, who are duty-bound to ensure safety, have sought a detailed proposal from the MCC, along with drawings to finalise the locations for toilets after conducting a joint inspection. The Corporation is planning to build 24 toilets (earlier planned 34) and urinals in different parts of the city, including four under flyovers at Kuntikana, Kottara Chowki and Kulur (all coming under NH 66) and Maroli flyover (NH 75).
Vijaykumar Samson, project director of New Mangalore Port Road Company Ltd (a subsidiary of NHAI), project implementation unit (PIU), Mangaluru, told DH, "As per the specifications listed by regional office (RO) in Bengaluru, we have sought a detailed proposal from the local body. The date for joint inspection is yet to be finalised."
According to the documents available with the DH, in the latest communication dated March 01, from the office of the afore-mentioned project director to the MCC Commissioner, the conditions put forth by the highway authorities are as follows: MCC should provide all necessary maintenance and safety arrangements to avoid inconvenience and safety of the adjacent road users. The joint inspection team should include supervision consultant from the NHAI and the MCC Commissioner.
This follows the recommendations of the office of the general manager (technical), RO, Karnataka region in Bengaluru, who has specifically mentioned the conditions.
Earlier, the office of the project director in Mangaluru had objected to giving permission to construct the toilets under flyovers. The letter to the chief general manager (Tech), RO in Bengaluru, dated November 24, 2016 reads that "...providing toilets under the flyovers may not be advisable, as it is busiest place for the public and may create unhygienic atmosphere and MCC commissioner may be asked to identify other locations not under flyovers."
However, what came in handy for the MCC was the directive issued by NHAI authorities to all its ROs stating that it has been desired that Swachh Bharat Action Plan (SAP) for 2017-18 and 2018-19 should be prepared for construction of toilets under flyovers and also to explore the possibility of building toilets at foot over bridges (FOBs) along national highways.
NHAI site engineer Ajith said, "It is of utmost significant to ensure safety measures, as nowhere in the past permission was given to build toilets under flyovers. From structural design to materials used for construction, everything should be in compliance with the NHAI standards to ensure no damage to main carriageway (read as flyovers)."
Although the space beneath the flyovers have turned into illegal parking lots, the concern over the safety of road users still remains, the engineer said, answering another question.
An officer at the City Corporation who preferred to remain anonymous said, "The MCC commissioner is expected to conduct a spot inspection in a day or two, before taking up the joint exercise with NHAI authorities."