In monsoon, MC places e-toilets in the only available ‘rain shelter’ at crowded Chotta-Shimla stoppage

SHIMLA- In December last year, Shimla Municipal Corporation had announced establishing 20 e-toilets in Shimla. First two e-toilets were placed at the Chotta Shimla bus stoppage claiming it as a facility. SMC received admiration for brining hi-tech sanitation facilities to Shimla because it is a popular tourist destination.

However, a citizen wrote to Himachal Watcher saying people are forced to stand in rain while waiting for buses at busy Chotta Shimla bus stoppage because the Shimla Municipal Corporation has placed these two e-toilets (one male, one female) in the only available rain-shelter. These toilets have occupied all the space. The stoppage is one of the busiest spots in Shimla city and is used by thousands of people everyday. The complainant sent us photographs and alleged that there is no alternative to take shelter in monsoon and people are facing huge inconvenience due to it. E-Toilets-Shimla

To inquire about availability or plan for alternative rain-shelter, HW tried to connect to the Mayor, Sanjay Chauhan and Deputy Mayor of Shimla, Tikendar Panwar, regarding this decision. Mr. Tikendar said there is no alternative, but SMC will build a new rain-shelter. He said it will take one month to deliver it.

What is questionable here is the fact people are deprived of rain-shelter in monsoon to place e-toilets. The Chief Minister, who didn’t miss photo opportunity and inaugurated the toilets on June 23, did not bother to ask about alternative arrangement for rain-shelter. So, public has no rain-shelter in monsoon until the proposed one is not built, which may take months. Shimla MC

In December last year, Shimla Municipal Corporation had announced establishing 20 e-toilets in Shimla. Locations chosen in Shimla included near the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Chaura Maidan, near the State Secretariat, Chhota Shimla, the Mall and the Ridge, had informed Pankaj Rai, Municipal Commissioner. SMC had further told about its plans of extending e-toilet facility to entire town.
Virbhadra Singh

The first two e-toilets were inaugurated by the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh at Chotta Shimla in the presence of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor.

What is an e-toilet and how it works?

The e-toilet is a portable toilet that costs about Rs 6 lakh and is user-friendly. The e-toilets are programmed to flush 1.5 litres of water after three minutes of usage or 4.5 litres if the usage is longer, said the SMC engineers. It can be used by inserting a coin, which will open the doors of the toilet for the user. The lights of the toilet, requiring a space of barely 5X5 feet, will switch on the moment the doors open. It will also have the facility of audio commands for the convenience of the users.

The government and the SMC claim that such steps would eliminate problem of open defecation. But in reality, even the existing public toilet facility isn’t doing well. It appears, the administration is pushing such projects in haste without actually considering convenience of public and instead focusing on tourist-oriented projects.

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