In an attempt to provide access to hygienic sanitation facilities to thousands of commuters boarding long-distance buses, a ‘Namma Toilet’ has been launched at Peerkankaranai.

A result of an approach to eradicate open defecation in urban Tamil Nadu, the universal design of Namma Toilet, launched in Tambaram and a few other urban pockets in the State has, according to government officials, changed the way people viewed and approached public toilets.

The Namma Toilet has been built at a cost of Rs. 6.8 lakh from the funds of Peerkankaranai Town Panchayat, its Chairman A.V. Sampath Kumar said. The free facility has been built at the northern end of the bus terminus at Peerkankaranai.

However, problems in Peerkankaranai are far from over as there are no public conveniences on the other side of Grand Southern Trunk Road, towards Chennai.

It causes immense problems for commuters arriving at Peerkankaranai, who have to either switch over to suburban trains or city buses.

Commuters who are aware of the location of a free toilet have to cross the arterial road — a risky affair in the morning and evening rush hours. The existing toilet at Perungalathur railway station has slipped into disuse and, hence, there is no relief for commuters who reach here after travelling long distance journeys overnight, pointed out R.A. Mukunthan of Perungalathur – Paranur Rail Commuters Association.

Mr. Sampath Kumar conceded that they were flooded with requests from activists as well as commuters about the need for a similar facility on the direction towards Chennai. “The gap between the railway lines and GST Road is the narrowest at Peerkankaranai. As of now, it is not possible to construct even a mobile toilet, owing to technical problems, but we are still exploring options,” he added.

A staffer at the Commissioner of Town Panchayats said the facility at Peerkankaranai was the first in Kancheepuram District and plans were on to launch a similar one in Mamallapuram. The Department of Municipal Administration and Water Supply has plans to extend Namma Toilet to more than 130 spots in municipalities and corporations across the State.