Kerala plans 500 public toilet complexes to realise ODF tag

Kerala plans 500 public toilet complexes to realise ODF tag

Kerala plans 500 public toilet complexes to realise ODF tag

The Kerala government is drawing up an ambitious programme to construct over 500 public toilet complexes across the state to realise the objectives of complete Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.

The complexes, comprising over 3,000 toilet seats, is envisaged to be built in densely populated urban centres, including beaches, parks, beside national and state highways, tourism centres and at the premises of major state-run institutions, including police stations. Rural Kerala was declared as ODF last year, becoming the first ODF state among the densely populated in the country.

The authorities are now on a mission to declare urban areas of the southern state Open Defecation Free shortly.

A top official of Suchitwa Mission,the state nodal agency for sanitation, said the construction of more public toilets are inevitable to achieve the real objective of the ambitious ODF programme. The Suchitwa Mission and civic bodies are jointly entrusted to implement the public toilet initiative.

"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.

Respective corporations and municipalities have been asked to identify locations to set up toilets as part of the programme, he said. Besides this, the cooperation of various government agencies, including National Highway Authority of India, state tourism department, police stations, hospitals, collectorates and taluk offices have been sought to provide space for toilets, Joy said.

Space constraint is the major challenge to implement this initiative, the official said. "But majority of departments have offered us support. The National Highway Authority officials also offered cooperation, but widening of highways is an issue in constructing toilets beside highways," he said. At present, only hotels and petrol pumps are offering toilet facilities for public, Joy said.

Detailing the features of the proposed public toilets, the official said they would be "differently abled, women and child-friendly." Under the ODF programme, about 1.75 lakh toilets have been constructed in rural Kerala, including critical areas like remote tribal hamlets and water-logged areas. Suchitwa Mission is the implementing agency of the initiative.