The Kurseong Municipality has pulled down some public toilets/washrooms, including the one at the Kurseong Motor Stand, popularly known as the ‘Sulabh Sauchalaya,’ in the heart of the town to make way for the construction of new ones.
The municipality started demolishing the old structure at the Motor Stand on 24 March as part of its plans to “revamp” such public toilets in the town.
Though Kurseong residents have welcomed the move, travelers and other visitors to the town have complained of inconvenience due to the lack of the toilet at the Motor Stand.
“Not only tourists, passengers or regular commuters, the local people living in the area had also been using the Sulabh Sauchalaya, also to take bath and refresh themselves,” a local resident said.
A regular visitor to the town said that keeping in mind the importance of the Motor Stand, the authority concerned should immediately find an alternative by setting up a temporary toilet with a few pans or even a single-pan toilet, while the construction of the new building goes on.
“We are daily visitors, and we know where some other public toilets are located in the town, but what about outsiders and tourists?” he said. When asked, the ward commissioner concerned of the Kurseong Municipality, Shyam Sherpa said that the Municipality had taken the initiative to renovate the toilets and to turn all toilets as ‘pay toilets’ by keeping in mind the deplorable condition of all the public toilets located in the municipality areas.
“Following the efforts of the Kurseong Municipality, the government has already sanctioned funds for the re-construction and renovation of these toilets,” he said.
According to him, the toilet at the Motor Stand was being run by ‘Sulabh Sauchalay’ on a lease agreement, and that it was a pay-and-use toilet.
“The lease agreement, however, expired a few years ago, and the safai karmacharis (cleaners) of the Sulabh Sauchalay had been running it since then,” Mr Sherpa added.
According to him, after searching for all the relevant documents, they first removed the safai karmacharis and started pulling down the concrete structure.
On the inconveniences faced by people, Mr Sherpa said that they have not pulled down the public toilet at PB Road near the Motor Standby keeping mind people’s problems.
“The PB Road public toilet is not very far from the motor stand. Hence, for the time being, visitors can use that toilet,” he said.