Tiruchirapalli

Has ‘Namma Toilet’ initiative gone down the drain?

The closed Namma Toilet at the Central bus stand in Tiruchi.   | Photo Credit: SRINATH ,M

The Namma Toilet complex set up near the SETC bus bay of the Central Bus Stand lies in shambles. The toilets installed in the bus stand area over five years ago were supposed to provide ‘toilets for all’, a solution to open urination.

Namma Toilets, an initiative under the Swachh Bharat Mission saw 17 pre-fabricated structures installed at Srirangam, Ariyamangalam and Ponmalai zones of the Tiruchi Corporation. Its special features- solar-powered lights, modular designs, quality fittings and hassle-free usage attracted users. The project claims to eliminate open defecation, and emerge as an environment-friendly initiative that will ensure adequate water supply and use solar panels for lighting. However, the initiative has been rendered useless in various parts of the city, much like the public toilets it aimed to replace.

The toilets at the Central Bus Stand have not been used in at least a couple of years, shopkeepers nearby say. The civic body is unable to maintain it and therefore had to close it. “Foul smell used to come from it all the time but with its closure the problem has solved. However, the water stagnant in front of it is unhygienic and could put us at risk,” a fruit seller said.

The fittings, the door and even some of the lightings were stolen by miscreants, a seller added. Despite its quality features, the toilet complex required manpower to run. It requires people to be deputed to clean it on a regular basis and to guard it to avoid theft.

Initially, the upkeep of the toilets was handed over to Self-Help Groups. However, they did not earn enough to sustain the services, a sanitation officer at the Tiruchi Corporation told The Hindu. Adjacent toilet complexes built by the civic body under the Smart Cities Mission too, are ill-kept for similar reasons.

A senior official of the Tiruchi Corporation said that while the Namma Toilets may not be in use, the civic body's toilet complexes were better maintained. “We will take a report of the condition of the Namma Toilets and look into it,” they said.


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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 8:56:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/has-namma-toilet-initiative-gone-down-the-drain/article37110326.ece

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