Kalasipalya leaders make around Rs 20,000/toilet per month
It’s Bengaluru’s dirty little secret — Palike’s toilets are given out to cronies of local leaders. These loo caretakers not only give the politicians a vote base but also small change to keep things going
A walk around the Kalasipalya area gave us a quick lesson in the peeconomy prevalent here, a system initiated by the toilet cartels. Every time you pee in a public toilet, the operator collects Rs 2 and every time you poop, you donate Rs 5 to their kitty. If that’s giving you the runs, let’s hope it’s not when the public toilets in the area are padlocked.
As bizzare as it may sound, supporters of the local corporator, Pratibha Dhanraj and her husband Dhanraj (ex corporator) stormed public toilets last week and put padlocks on them. The objective was to wrest control of these toilets and collect toilet fees from those ‘operating’ the toilets. A toilet operator said that the toilets were locked up by the present corporator’s supporters who demanded that the money be paid to them since RV Devraj (former legislator from Chickpete) was no longer the MLA.
Public toilet operators, patronised by the local leaders, manage toilets around the Kalasipalya bus stand and market areas. They claim that the daily collection figures from toilet use fees range anywhere from Rs 600 to 1,000 (depending on size of the toilets and footfall) from each toilet in the entire ward. If we apply simple math here, Rs 600 to 1,000 collected from each of the 10 toilets in a ward will generate an income of Rs 1.8 to Rs 3 lakh per ward, which is pocketed by the toilet cartels.
Kalasipalya is no exception, say local leaders. This is the rule across all wards in the city. As of now, the BBMP, according to its portal, has at least 479 toilets in the city of which at least 46 are maintained by the BBMP, at least 156 have no contractors mentioned against them, some are listed as maintained by locals and the remaining are run by private individuals and voluntary organisations as CSR initiatives.
Says M Anbu, a differently abled man managing the public toilet on Fort B Street adjacent to the Kalasipalaya Bus stand, “I have to pay Rs 600 to Dhanraj (the corporator’s husband) every day. If I don’t give it, then they have clearly asked me to stop managing this toilet.
Earlier, another guy associated with the former MLA used to come and collect the money.”