Kozhikode: E-toilets, trumpeted as the panacea for the shortage of clean toilets across the district, have become mere waste dumping points and billboards.
Even in the city limits where e-toilets were re-launched after some cosmetic changes, the facility is yet to become popular.
First launched in 2010 by Eram Scientific Solutions, many of them located close to bus shelters in rural towns like Thamarassery, Kunnamangalam and
Balussery, have become just walls to stick advertisements.
“We were able to use these toilets only for a couple of days and later they became defunct,” said K.P Vinod, a cobbler at Thamarassery. He also alleged that the authorities had removed the electronic equipment behind the toilets and had not bothered to repair or replace them.
Many panchayats had invested upto Rs 7 lakh for setting up these toilets. Now the local bodies have to spend Rs 70,000 for the maintenance alone. “Though we repair these toilets, the same situation recurs as people are not familiar with such toilets,” says Thamarassery village panchayat president K. Saraswathi. “E-toilets and its maintenance in rural areas will be effective only if people are given proper awareness in this regard,” she added.
The e-toilets in Kunnamangalam also are under repair. Kunnamangalam village panchayat secretary K. Gireesh told DC that they had arranged a temporary comfort station for the public inside the shopping complex nearby.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Dr. K.S Jayashree, Streechetana general secretary, said that it was the collective responsibility of the Corporation and district and village panchayats to ensure the maintenance of e-toilets. “When a new system comes in, the authorities should take adequate steps for its implementation. It is up to local body authorities to educate the public on e-toilets through schools and Kudumbashree,” she added.