In a much welcomed move on International Toilets Day, the six bio-toilets in the city that are defunct owing to poor maintenance, have finally found some caretakers.
The recently-launched women’s wing of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has expressed interest in taking up the toilets and funding for its maintenance. The biotoilets were installed by the Kochi Corporation with much fanfare.
The women’s wing, known as ‘Indian Women’s Network (IWN)’, which was launched in previous April, told ‘City Express’ that they are willing to take the lead in revamping city’s bio-toilets.
“The bio-toilets in the city were built a few years ago but has been not functioning for sometime now owing to ill maintenance. They are in a very bad condition. We are willing to repair them and maintain them for the next five years. If the Corporation is willing, the IWN can pool in funds from the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of various companies for the maintenance of these toilets,” said Anuradha Ganesh who coordinates IWN activities in Kerala.
She said the IWN considers this as an important step towards helping career women in their day-to-day life. “Cleanliness and hygiene of public toilets are directly related to the health and other aspects in the life of career women. At present, there are no proper signboards before the toilets. Only a very few uss it now which has led to the shut down of most of them, despite the fact that Kochi is having a serious shortage of pay-and-use toilets,” Anuradha said.
She added that the IWN is moving forward to officially make a proposal to the Corporation in this regard.
The six bio-toilets at Fort Kochi, Vytilla, Kacheripady, North Town Hall and Palarivattom were purchased at a cost of Rs 7 lakh by the Kochi Corporation.
Apart from compensating for the crude shortage of public toilets in the city, they were also meant to spread awareness about eco-friendly technology.
The toilets were also mired in a financial controversy which led the Corporation taking action against its officials to recover revenue loss due to the official’s dereliction of duty.
When contacted Mayor Tony Chammany said the IWN had informally met him with this proposal but has not submitted it officially. “It remains a fact that our bio-toilets are very badly maintained. The local body has several roadblocks to address these issues, including financial shortage. So any proposal in this regard is most welcome and will be considered in its merit,” said Mayor.