BHUBANESWAR: The housing and urban development (H&UD) department has rapped the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) for selecting Sulabh International, an organization promoting sanitation, without floating tenders for construction of public toilets in the city.
About Rs 4.78 crore has been approved by the department for construction of 27 public toilets.
Official sources said the BMC had requested the state government to approve Sulabh for the work.
The finance department, however, sought reasons from the civic body for the decision.
"The BMC was asked why tender process was dispensed with and construction of toilets given on nomination basis to Sulabh," said a government official. At present, Sulabh is maintaining 22 community toilets here.
The BMC, in its reply to the state government, said Sulabh has the expertise to construct and manage public toilets. In many other states also it is engaged in construction of public toilets.
"Sulabh has constructed many toilets in several urban local bodies (ULBs) in the state. Since the work involves technical knowhow, we couldn't have got a more suitable bidder had we gone for tender," reasoned BMC city engineer T B K Shroff, quoting the letter sent to the government.
However, the new toilets won't be named Sulabh Sauchalayas as in the case of existing 22 toilets, said a source in the municipal corporation.
The civic body has sent a proposal to the government for a different name.
The naming idea was mooted by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an organization providing technical assistance to various civic bodies on sanitation improvement under its flagship project called 'Project Samman'. It is also preparing models and designs for toilets in Bhubaneswar.
"We will finalize the name of the new community toilets soon," said BMC commissioner Sanjib Mishra.