As part of its efforts to make some of its public conveniences accessible to persons with disabilities, the Chennai Corporation has called for tenders to improve the facilities in 30 public toilets across the city.

To start with, it has called for tenders to modify the existing structures at nine locations, including the one near Elliots Beach and another opposite MRTS Station on R.K. Mutt Road. A senior official of the civic body said, “We have chosen locations based on the availability of space and after assessing the demand.”

Tenders have been called for remodelling public conveniences in the Adyar and Saidapet zones. Estimates are being prepared for such facilities in the other zones.

The toilets are being designed with specifications provided by the National Centre for Accessible Environments for the height of the water closet and wash basin, the space required for manoeuvring the wheelchair, ramps at entry point and handrails.

Soumya Simhan, Founder, Sukriti Social Foundation said, “There are a lot of persons with disabilities, who do not have toilets in their homes. Such people find it very difficult when the public toilets are not disabled-friendly. Accessibility of sanitation facility is a must everywhere.”

B. Meenakshi of Vidyasagar's Disability Legislation Unit, said most public buildings in the city did not have toilets based on universal design. “Many persons with disabilities either measure their water intake or control their urge to use the toilet due to the lack of adequate facilities. Senior citizens tend to face similar problems.”

She said the civic body must ensure that the conveniences are dry and hygienic, as among the disabled there are people without crutches or wheelchairs… some people require assistance,” she added.

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