- 3,000 toilet seats will be built in 500 public toilet complexes
- Rural Kerala was declared open defecation free in 2016
- Around 11,000 toilet have been built in the urban areas since 2014
New Delhi: Kerala, known for its highly progressive approaches, was the first densely populated state in the country to attain the title of open defecation free (ODF) for its rural areas last year. Now in a bid to make its urban areas free from open defecation and sustain the ODF status in rural parts, the government has chalked out a plan to build more than 500 public toilet complexes across the state. The toilet complexes will have over 3,000 toilet seats and each seat will cost upto Rs 98,000. The toilet complexes will be designed in a way to accommodate all sections of the society be it women, children or the disabled.
“The government’s plan is to set up over 500 public toilet complexes. Under this, over 3,000 toilet seats will be constructed. We can spend up to Rs 98,000 per seat,” Suchitwa Mission Director (Operations) C V Joy said.
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The complexes will be constructed in different areas of the state including beaches, parks, beside national and state highways, tourism centres and at the premises of major state-run institutions, including police stations. The project will be executed under the state’s Swachh sanitation campaign ‘Suchitwa Mission’ by all the local civic bodies.
The civic bodies are currently in the process of identifying locations where the complexes can be built. Other agencies including police stations, hospitals, collectorates, state tourism department, National Highway Authority of India, etc have also been asked to look for spaces.
Space being a constraint in a densely populated region, the official further added, “But majority of the departments have offered us their support. The National Highway Authority officials also offered cooperation, but widening of highways is an issue in constructing toilets beside highways.”
Under the ODF Suchitwa Mission, about 1.75 lakh toilets have been constructed in rural Kerala and 11,000 in the urban areas.
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Also known as God’s own country, Kerala has set several examples for the other states when it comes to implementing the sanitation practices. For instance, Kerala became the first state in the country to provide a comprehensive package on menstrual hygiene. The government recently launched a ‘She Pad’ scheme under which free sanitary napkins, storage spaces and environment friendly incinerators will be provided at all government-aided schools in the state to instill the idea of menstrual hygiene among girls studying in classes 6 to 12.
It was also among the first few states to not only recognise the third gender but also develop additional facilities for them. And this was evident when recently the state’s Social Justice Department agreed to spend on separate toilets for transgender at the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation depot in Ernakulam.
Besides the toilet building target, Kerala is also on its way to become a waste-free state. Civic bodies across the state are introducing various waste management techniques like following the green protocol and banning plastic bags, promoting green weddings to reduce waste generation and the education board prohibiting usage of plastic pens.
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With inputs from PTI