WILL MORE TOILETS HELP SOLVE INDIA'S RAPE PROBLEM?

Chennai Corporation, the local municipality body will introduce 1000 She-toilets soon. Is there a connect between lack of toilets and attacks on women?

Seen here, a woman checking the e-toilet in Kerala House.

Of late, reports of rapes (especially of minors) coming in from the heartland, have seen an unprecedented rise. Many of these girls have been raped on their way to fields they use to relieve themselves.

This has brought to attention the lack of public toilets for women. Half the population in India doesn't have a toilet in their homes.

Has lack of toilets left the women more vulnerable to attacks? It has been widely debated upon even in international media. However, there has been a consensus that citizens' right to public spaces is of paramount importance now.

Al Jazeera reports: The point really is that women should have access to public spaces even after dark without fear, whether they’re toilets in tiny villages or streets in big cities. What’s more, going to the fields provides women with a space to chat and hang out among themselves. The presence of private toilets may well erode women’s capacity to loiter in this fashion.

Chennai Corporation to build 2000 toilets

Perhaps one positive move in the wake of such reports would be Chennai Corporation's commendable decision to construct around 2000 toilets in the next one year.

Around 2000 e-toilets will be introduced in places like bus stands, market places and other open spaces.

The news comes as a great relief for women who work outdoors and spend many hours of the day outside of home. There are plenty of women (labourers, hawkers etc. ) who work on the streets and cannot afford a toilet in their homes.

"This is the first time Chennai Corporation has done a detailed survey and mapping of places where public toilets are required and where the public oppose it," said a senior corporation official.

He further stated, "The survey has identified need for both male and female public toilets. Based on the survey, 2,000 units of toilets i.e. 1000 for men, and 1000 for women will be constructed across 348 locations in the city."

What's more, it's an e-toilet.

Reportedly, e-toilets will be fully automatic with auto-flush, auto-cleanup and auto-fans and lights which turn on/off when person enters/leaves.

State governments are increasingly opting for e-toilets in their buildings as they have the advantage of power flushing, automatic cleaning and sterilization.

E-toilets gaining popularity with State Governments?

She-toilet system was in news earlier when this was implemented in Kochi. Many units have been installed all over Kerala in public places like museums, bus stands, road side, tourist spots, schools, etc. They are funded by the municipalities, panchayats, district collectors, MPs through their specific funds. Kerala Government gives a 50 per cent subsidy to local self-governments to install these e-toilets.

Some units have been operational in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and North India as well.

TOI reports that Chennai currently has a little over 900 public toilets, inadequate for its 65 lakh population.

Powerof49 wants 1 crore toilets for women in 1 year

The Powerof49 Manifesto has stated that over 1 crore toilets have to be built in one year. This manifesto was presented to the leading party and it was accepted by them. Chennai is one small step in that direction.

Read it here: Power of 49 Complete Manifesto

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