Chennai: The Swachh Bharat Mission has taken off well in Chennai which is committed to erase the images of dirty public toilets in the city. The newly installed e-toilets have a claim to be 'always clean'.
183 portable have been installed in the city which are unmanned and are fully automatic with pre-wash and post-wash provisions. Even the floors of these green-colored tin boxes get a thorough wash after each use, keeping them hygienic and stench-free.
But the facilities come at a cost. Each of these smart toilets cost around Rs 5 lakh, add to it, a monthly maintenance of Rs 5,000. But the government is proud to have spent the money.
"We want even people who travel by car to stop and use these toilets. That's the hygiene we are aiming at, "said A S Murugan, Executive Engineer [Buildings], Chennai Corporation.
Chennai's smart toilets can also be located through an app. People can also use it to send pictures as feedback. An independent agency will do the monitoring.
"It's a GPRS based system. Authorities can also monitor its working, the flush count and ensure hygiene remotely," Anwar Sadath, CEO, Eram Scientific.
Some toilets also come with incinerators that can dispose sanitary napkins.
The happy neighbours of these new toilets recount the days of old filthy toilets which have been now replaced. The women of a slum nearby say that they have given up open defecation.
"Earlier toilets used to be dirty, we used to wait for men to clean them. Now they are clean and hygienic always," said R Malarkodi, a Chennai resident.
J Jayamani, another resident said, "We used to hide faces when we entered toilets, now no such embarrassment."
These toilets could very well be the answer to some of country's major problems such as open defecation and manual scavenging.