Hyderabad: Newly-built toilets are being used but often the pits are full and not being cleaned, says a Swacch Telangana team that inspected the sites.
The state has completed construction of 1,47,573 toilets and interaction with people and community level workers confirms their usage. Non-usage is below 5 per cent and the reason for that is lacking cleanliness of septic tanks in semi-urban and urban areas and pits in rural areas.
“Cleaning of pits is a major challenge in rural areas,” a senior official of the Swacch Telangana team said on condition of anonymity. “As manual scavenging is not allowed, men and children opt to defecate in the open. This is the case in areas where usage is high and requires regular cleaning. For this reason, machine cleaning is going to be taken up on a regular basis to resolve the issue.”
Another area where toilets have been built but are not being used are remote tribal villages, where there is little awareness about toilet use. The government uses community workers to create awareness about proper use of toilets and their maintenance.
In rural areas, migrants do not have access to community toilets, which are often found locked.
Use of water, too, is an issue. “Migrants are a challenge. Often, they apply for toilets but were not present when government officials arrived for survey work,” a senior officer explained. “They were not present at the address from where the request was made and, hence, the government does not sanction those toilets. As a result they continue to defecate in the open.”
Impurity has not been found as a factor for non-use of toilets in Telangana state. Ground-level officials say less than two per cent have complained of impurity and those too in remote rural sectors.
Cleanliness of septic tanks and pits is the main concern. “Cleaning of public toilets is carried out on a complaint basis in semi-urban and urban areas,” said Dr T.K. Sridevi, director of municipal administration. “Septic tanks in colonies are also cleaned the same way. We now have a faecal processing unit that will help clean it regularly. The process of tendering is being carried out to ensure regular maintenance.”
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