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Residents from at least eight housing societies in Mahim, Mumbai, have expressed opposition to the construction of an air-conditioned public toilet on the Senapati Bapat Road pavement outside the Mahim railway station on the grounds that the area is designated for beautification.

According to the Mumbai Mirror, Herman Dias, secretary of Zameen ALM (Advanced Locality Management) of G-North ward, sent a letter to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is responsible for constructing the toilet, on Monday asking that the site be changed. 

However, the BMC, which brought in an NGO for the project and stopped work after receiving the ALM’s letter, said the construction would resume on Tuesday.

Dias was quoted as saying: “Barricades and boards giving relevant details like the nature of work undertaken, permission granted for building the toilet, dates for commencement and conclusion of work, contact details of nodal officers and other information have not been put up at the site that has been dug up for the toilet. According to rules laid down by the municipal authorities themselves, this is mandatory before taking up any kind of trenching and excavation work.”

He added: “The whole idea of beautification of the entire stretch is for an encroachment-free footpath for the pedestrians, their safety and to ease the flow of vehicular traffic. Therefore, any move to construct any kind of structure on the very footpath which has been given to Zameen ALM for beautification will prove detrimental to the safety of the pedestrians and the purpose of beautification will be defeated.”

The residents’ organization also pointed out that there are already two toilets, one 100 meters away and another inside the railway station.

Ramakant Biradar, assistant commissioner of G-North, claimed that nobody wanted a public toilet or dustbin in their neighborhood and therefore the complaints were understandable.