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Sunday, 23 June 2013

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MCUDP completes first phase :

World-class public conveniences in the City soon


One of the public convenience complexes

Clean and hygienic

Facilities of an international standard
High quility items would be used
 

The City of Colombo is being transformed into a modern and well-planned metropolis, modelled on the lines of developed countries, with a lot of development activities and beautification programs.

When the city is developed on a fast track with many city centres being converted into tourist and public attractions, the provision of common public conveniences has also become a very important aspect in this process.

Many visitors to the city know the embarrassing situation they have to face when they need to relieve themselves within the city as many of these public conveniences are in a dilapidated, unclean and unhygienic status.

Identified as one of the priority issues to be addressed in the city development process, the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development has initiated the process of improving the public convenience complexes within the city.

The Metro Colombo Urban Development Project (MCUDP), a flagship project of the Government implemented under the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and guided by the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has come out with the solution and is ready to commission seven public convenience complexes developed in the Colombo city on June 25 as the first package of the mega project.

The MCUDP, costing US$ 223 million (Rs.29,000 million), financed by the World Bank under a concessionary soft loan facility, is the largest urban regeneration project in the country.

It targets the development of the Colombo city and suburbs such as Dehiwela - Mount Lavinia, Sri Jayawardenapura and Kolonnawa, that come under the Metro Colombo area.

Urban regeneration

The main objective of this project is to complement the present urban regeneration programs of the Government of Sri Lanka in the Metro Colombo region. The largest component of the project is aimed at reducing the physical and socio-economic impact of flooding in the Metro Colombo region. The other component is to improve the priority infrastructure in the Colombo city.

“I am happy to say that the MCUDP started on July 10, 2012 and within less than a year, we managed to complete the first phase of the project. We are ready to commission seven public convenience facilities on June 25 (Tuesday), by the Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premajayantha and Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa”, Rohan Seneviratne, Project Director of the Metro Colombo Urban Development Project and Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development said.

“These public convenience complexes are important to the city because a lot of people, tourists, important personnel and the public travel to the city every day. Even though we have a city population of about 600,000, there is floating population of about 400,000 each day visiting the city for various purposes”, he said.

“We did not have proper public convenience facilities for them. We had some public conveniences, but they were dilapidated and not constructed properly and people could not use those facilities.

So we identified this as a very important requirement of the city as the cities all over the world have public convenience facilities of better standards”, he said.

Seneviratne said under this project component of the MCUDP, 14 public convenience complexes are to be developed; under phase one of the project, seven complexes have already been completed.

These complexes are located at 108, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2; No. 98, Galle Road, Wellawatte; 43, Galle Road, Bambalapitiya; No.90, Piyadasa Sirisena Mawatha, Colombo 10; No.110 A, Saunders Place, Colombo 11; No. 125/R01, York Street, Colombo 1 and No. 17, Nagalagama Street, Colombo 14.

“The complexes are equally distributed in the city so that people coming to different parts of the city can use them for their requirements”, he said.

International standards

Explaining further about these complexes, Seneviratne said they conform to international standards, with separate sections for males and females.

The Male section has facilities such as three or four toilets and urinals, washbasins, mirrors, hand-driers and all other facilities available in modern public convenience complexes.

These complexes are tiled up to the ceiling. Ample light and ventilation too are provided inside the toilet complexes.

“We have used special materials for the roof so that natural light will enter the entire complex. We can save electricity by doing that”, he said.

These complexes are designed in such a way that they get a lot of sunlight into the complex, making it possible to be kept clean and easy for inspections. “All the bathroom fittings that we use are of high quality”, Seneviratne said.One special feature of these convenience facilities is that they have a toilet for disabled people.

A ramp is available for them to go straight to the disabled facility and that has all the internationally accepted conditions and utensils.

“The contractors have done a good job. We managed to get them to go for the highest quality and to complete the project within the prescribed time-frame”, Seneviratne said.

These toilet complexes, once commissioned, will be handed over to the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) to be properly operated and managed.

“It is their responsibility to operate and manage these complexes properly. If we don’t manage them properly, there is no purpose in having these in the city and within a couple of days, the standard of these complexes will come down.

So, we have told the Commissioner of the CMC and the staff well in advance that we need to select proper contractors to manage these complexes”, he said.

“We will charge a small fee from the users of these complexes. Then the person who manages these complexes have to do the management as per the prescribed conditions. We have laid out strict guidelines and conditions to maintain these complexes. That is the most important part”, he said.

Huge task

It will be a huge task before the Colombo Municipal Council Commissioner and the CMC staff to manage these affairs well.

The Ministry of Defence and Urban Development will also put in place a mechanism to supervise the CMC's management of these complexes.

“If the contractors are not performing well, we have to terminate their contracts and employ new contractors. We will be very strict on this”, he said.

“We have already spent about Rs. 58 million for these seven complexes and we are ready to go ahead with the balance seven projects”, he said.

“ May be we can add more toilet complexes depending on the funds. But one of the problems we face is finding space. We can’t have these complexes in hidden places.; they should be visible. If we find more space and if there are funds, we can think of constructing more public convenience facilities in the city”, he said. Work on the public convenience complexes has been carried out by the engineers and architects of the Colombo Municipal Council.

The engineers in the project management unit also contributed a lot to the successful completion of the project.

“The World Bank is also very committed to this project and we should appreciate their commitment to make this project a success”, he said.

“I must mention the directives and the guidance given by the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development throughout this process. During the formulation and designing of the project, he personally looked into each and every step.

That was a huge input for the completion of this project. I am happy as the Project Director of the Metro Colombo Urban Development Project and as Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development about its successful completion,” Seneviratne said.

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