Portable toilets at Ernakulam South railway station

First of a kind initiative aimed at Sabari pilgrims.

Kochi: The railways has set up portable toilets at the Ernakulam South railway station, the first such initiative in the Southern region, for the benefit of lakhs of Ayyappa devotees arriving during the two-month-long Sabarimala pilgrimage season. The move comes following complaints from several quarters during previous pilgrimage seasons that the station, which records footfalls of nearly 38 lakh Sabarimala pilgrims from neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, lacks basic facilities leading to issues like open defecation on its premises.

The Kochi Corporation had taken up the issue with the railways last season. “We have set up a total of 13 such pay and use toilets, including five bathrooms and three latrines. The advantage of portable toilets over e-toilets is the cleanliness factor. Jet cleaning will be done round the clock. The railways is providing electricity and water free to the contractor. The rates will be the same as elsewhere (Rs 5 and Rs 2),” a senior railway officer said.

The station, which records the highest footfall of Sabarimala pilgrims after the Changannur railway station, has just three retiring rooms, that too in dilapidated condition, as against five in Kannur and eight in Mangalore. “Last time around besides the Kochi Corporation, local residents near the railway station too complained against pilgrims taking a bath in the open. The toilets can be used during festival seasons once the pilgrimage gets over,” the official said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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