Some e-toilets disappear, others gather dust in city

The e-toilets at Palarivattom Junction that are under lock and key.

The e-toilets at Palarivattom Junction that are under lock and key.  

Defaced, defunct comfort stations raise a stink

Busy junctions such as Palarivattom and Vyttila were once noted for e-toilets that were installed after much clamour. However, these crucial components of urban infrastructure have disappeared from some places, while the remaining ones are under lock and key.

An e-toilet at Vyttila Junction on the service road leading to Ponnurunni-Thammanam no longer exists. And, it is now a practice among people to attend to the call of nature behind a transformer in the locality, resulting in a perpetual reek. According to Ravi Kumar (name changed), an autorickshaw driver, the facility was removed by the Kochi Corporation for the construction of the flyover which required extension of the road.

The e-toilet at Palarivattom Junction on the road to Pipeline Junction remains locked. The two units, branded Green Toilet, have been defaced with posters. Plastic waste and litter flank the facilities behind which people relieve themselves.

John Matthew (name changed), an autorickshaw driver, says the facility was set up following public appeal to the corporation. “It is now non-operational. People now relieve themselves behind the e-toilet,” he adds.

According to Basheer, who runs a restaurant in the locality, the toilets have not been operational from the very onset.

Meanwhile, V.K. Minimol, who stepped down as chairperson of the corporation health standing committee the other day, admits that the toilets at Palarivattom had not been operational from the start. “There was a payment dispute with the agency that built the e-toilet regarding the installation of a waste disposal system,” she said. According to her, people are reluctant to use e-toilets as they are unlike conventional toilets. “There are fears of privacy and contracting diseases through use of e-toilets. Fearing losses, agencies hesitate to accept tenders for building e-toilets,” she says.

Matthew, however, says it is a lame excuse on the part of the corporation as people will certainly use e-toilets if there is one operational in the vicinity.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 8:30:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/some-e-toilets-disappear-others-gather-dust-in-city/article26157033.ece

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