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Public toilet turns private shelter

Srirangapatna (Mandya district), Jul 23, 2012, DHNS :

Unlikely home

The community toilet which has been turned into a  residence. DH Photo

This was a rare protest. The residents of Cauverypura Layout staged a demonstration on Monday, urging the authorities of the Town Municipal Council (TMC) to evacuate a family which has occupied a public utility that was to be used several times over by many every day.

This is no park or joggers’ track. The space people were demanding be vacated is a community toilet.

The residents demanded that the family be evicted immediately because they are unable to finish their ‘business’ in privacy.

The family of Shivji Singh, his wife and four children, three of them girls, have been living there for the last nine years. They made the community toilet their home after they were appointed for its upkeep.

The toilet was constructed under the river water conservation scheme. According to Mahadevamma, Singh’s wife, the contractor who was given the responsibility of constructing the toilet and maintaining it, directed them to stay in the premises, since he could not provide them an alternative dwelling.

The family, which made the toilet their home a little less than a decade ago, could not find an alternative location. In the meantime, the family added on more children.

The mother of four says she has no safe place where she can stay with her son, daughters and husband.

Futile efforts

The environmental engineer and Town Muncipal Council chief officer Rajanna said the authorities could not evict the family.

They had written to various government agencies, including the National Human Rights Commission and the chief minister’s office, to allot them a house so that they could be moved out.

“Despite multiple letters and reminders, no arrangement was made. Hence, the family continues to stay here,” he said.

Hearing this, the protestors were agitated and raised slogans against the officials demanding action against them. Only after an assurance that action would be taken, they left the place.

The officials are now in a fix over providing an alternative shelter for Singh, Mahadevamma and her children.


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