‘Over 50 Lakh Houses in Tamil Nadu Short of Toilet Facilities’

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CHENNAI: At a time when Swachch Bharat Abhiyan has taken centre-stage across the country,  Tamil Nadu is reeling under a shortage of sanitary facilities with only 42.73 lakh houses having access to toilets.

Over 50 lakh households do not have toilets, forcing the inmates to defecate in the open.

Moreover, of the 37,002 schools, 1,442 lack toilets for girls while 4,278 are in need of toilets for boys.

In a bid to address the issue and build 10 million toilets across the State by 2019, a India Toilet Summit, bringing together sanitation stakeholders to collaborate efforts and provide access to toilets to all, would be organised on November 19, coinciding with the World Toilet Day.

The national-level summit, which would take place in a hotel here on Wednesday, would involve development professionals, social scientists, politicians and corporate representatives.

Through the meet, Gramalaya, a Tiruchy-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), along with Research and Sustainable Development Commission (RSDC) and Toilet Aid, hopes to bring in innovative solutions to the pressing issue.

“We are keen on being an active participant of Prime Minister Modi’s mission and hope to establish a comprehensive platform through this event,” said Mohamad Farukh, CEO of India Toilet Summit.

Gramalaya is propagating the use of a toilet model, which uses a leach pit costing `14,000 per unit. “The model that was developed by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) is a low-maintenance and low-cost model and works on absorption. It is one of the most suitable models for rural India,” said S Damodaran, the founder-chairman of Gramalaya.

In this model, the water waste is absorbed into the ground and solid faecal matter is held by the pit.

“The liquid component of faecal matter, which is 90 per cent, also gets absorbed. The solid waste eventually decomposes. Every 10 years, the slabs will be removed and redone,” he said.

While this model has been implemented in around one lakh houses in Tiruchy district, they hope to spread it across the State, while also providing loans for the same through ‘Guardian’, a micro-finance agency, aligned with Gramalaya. The loans, he said, could be repaid after reimbursement from the government.

People’s reluctance to use toilets despite its availability would also be addressed by the organisers.

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