KOLKATA, 15 JAN: Hawkers with shops near the Metro cinema and vehicle drivers have turned the stretch of sidewalk just opposite the theatre into an open public urinal. What is worse, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation pleads ignorance of the situation.
The heavy traffic keeps them from crossing the road and using the public toilet on the other side in times of necessity.
As a result, during traffic jams, the commuters and pedestrians have to bear the stench and, needless to mention, avert their eyes from the row of men relieving themselves.
Drivers of vehicles stuck in traffic jams can be seen getting down from their seats in a hurry and answering nature’s call in the boulevard that was meant for beautification of this stretch of road that is not only frequented by office-goers and shoppers, but has become important for political parties as well ~ the Metro channel has recently become almost anonymous with political rallies and gatherings.
Md Afsan, an elderly hawker with a shop near Metro cinema, said: “It is difficult to cross the road all the time and use the public toilet. There is such heavy
traffic movement throughout the day. What other option do we have?”
More than 100 hawkers have stalls on the stretch. Another shop-owner, Deepak Kumar, said: “There is a toilet for the employees of a retail market at this side of the road. At times they allow us to use it. But we can’t leave our shops for a long time.” The public urinal near the Esplanade bus terminus is too far, said another shop-owner.
More than 15 people could be spotted using the boulevard as a public toilet in a time span of 10 minutes. Disinfectant is never sprayed at the stretch of the boulevard that is already crumbling at places and with beds of greenery that are seldom maintained.
Mr Debabrata Mazumder, MMIC for solid waste management, said that though they often clean the area behind Metro channel and even the area that falls under PWD, he has never come across anything like this. “We will see what can be done to stop this,” Mr Mazumder added.