Pune: Within one-and-a-half years, the air conditioned (AC) toilet built at Pune railway station was closed down due to poor response from passengers. The railway authority claims that passengers don’t want to pay for the urinal.
The toilets were opened in 2016. The toilets were constructed in 2015 during the tenure of Suneet Sharma, former Divisional Railway Manager (DRM).
The services of ‘deluxe toilets’ were priced at Rs 2 for use of urinal and Rs 5 for lavatory. Ordinary toilets on platform no 1, charge Rs 2 for use of lavatory while urinary blocks can be used for free.
Construction of the toilets on platform no 1 in 2015 was controversial as activists and rail administration insiders, opposed the locations, saying that it would block an emergency exit.
A senior official said the contractor was also struggling to keep the toilet interior clean and fresh.
Manoj Jhanwar, Public Relations Officer, Pune Division, said that in March 2016, the contract to operate the deluxe toilet was awarded to a private body for five years. The contractor, however, backed out in two months, citing low response.
“We later tried to invite quotations from other interested parties. However, the toilet failed to sustain itself. It has now been closed for several months and we are planning to invite a tender next month after converting it into an ordinary toilet block,” said Jhanwar.
Unreasonable fee the reason?
According to a senior official, the reason behind spending funds on constructing the toilets, for which passengers had to pay, was that free use of toilets at railway stations do not make commuters aware of the importance of keeping them clean. In fact, cases of damaging of railway toilets has been noticed.