Fifty per cent of installed 170 e-toilets functions in Bangalore

Published on September 24, 2022 by

People are afraid to use e-toilets for some reasons, including concern about being trapped inside, unclean facilities, and poor maintenance and hygiene.

Bangalore, Sept 18, 2022: Only 50 per cent of installed 170 Electronic toilets (e-toilets) function in Bangalore. The other 50 per cent are in working condition but are not maintained. Citizens avoid using it because of a lack of maintenance and hygiene. Mahesh, a citizen, says, “I have roamed around Bangalore, and I would prefer using an e-toilet, but most of the e-toilets are not in function and are closed. Also, people do not want to use it because it is not clean.”

A survey by Janagraha, a non-profit trust, shows that Bengaluru has 478 Public Toilets, meaning there is only one public toilet for 25,000 citizens. People are hesitant to use e-toilets because they are not clean. Mahesh Rao added, “I would prefer using both public toilet and e-toilet, but those are not maintained and clean regularly.”

These e-toilets were brought to the city by the Solid Waste Management (SWM) cell of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Col. Rajbir Singh, Chief Marshall of SWM, claims that people are unaware of these because this concept is not very well known among Bangaloreans.

Electronic toilets, referred to as e-toilets, were introduced in Bangalore in 2019 when 170 e-toilets were installed in various parts of the city. These were introduced keeping the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat initiative in mind. Despite the presence of public restrooms, significant investments between Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 20 lakhs were made since they are portable and easy to access. Col. Rajveer Singh says: “It is also easy to set up and move where needed. They occupy less space, and the only problem is to supply continuous water, which will not be hygienic. These can be set up in market areas where there is a crowd as it does not take much space, and people will be able to use them. As in these areas, it is easy to monitor and maintain the e-toilets.” Here, he added that the frequency of people using e-toilets is not much as these are not popular among the citizens.

BBMP gives the contract to agencies who maintain these e-toilets around the city for a particular time. Citizens are afraid of getting locked inside the aluminium box because of multiple buttons present on the toilets. But a BBMP official, Col. Ranbir Singh, denies this, saying, “It should not be the case because the operating instructions are written in both English and Kannada everywhere the e-toilets are installed unless it is removed by the users.”

The Chief Marshall also informed that out of the total e-toilets, 50 per cent of toilets are in working condition but are closed by the cell because the number of people using the toilets is significantly less in those areas where the toilets are shut down. But the other 50 per cent are well maintained by Pourakarmikas.

Rafique Chahar, working in the health department at AM Foundation, an NGO, says, “E-toilets are not very good because we can see several people still making the place dirty and unhygienic. Most of the e-toilets in the city are not in an operational or working state.”

Citizens think having e-toilets benefits them because when away from home, they travel long distances to avail pay and use restrooms, paying Rs. 10 every time; on the other hand, e-toilets are free.

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