Central Revolutionizing Public Sanitation: How Mobile Toilets are Changing Lives in Telangana’s Narayanpet District

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Prior to 2021, the three municipalities in Narayanpet district of Telangana – Narayanpet, Kosgi, and Makthal – did not have any public toilets. Similarly, the 280 gram panchayats in the district also lacked public toilets.

However, this changed when a ‘toilet on wheels’ was introduced in Narayanpet, a groundbreaking initiative that led to the district achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) status and earned the administration the title of ‘Best Municipality’ in the country.

The concept of the mobile toilet was conceived by former Narayanpet District Collector Harichandana Dasari, who is one of the recipients of the Excellence in Governance Awards for 2020 and 2021.

The biennial awards recognize the outstanding work done by district magistrates, who are considered the driving force behind governance initiatives that impact the lives of numerous people nationwide. Harichandana received the award in the Public Amenities category.

The mobile toilet, designed specifically for women, was installed in a decommissioned Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) bus. Referred to as the ‘pink’ or ‘she’ toilet, it is usually stationed at the Kosgi bus stand.

The demand for the mobile toilet has been so high that requests come in from all over the district for its deployment at local fairs and festivals. Despite the absence of a public toilet at the Kosgi bus stand, the mobile unit is dispatched based on event organizers’ requests.

Featuring four washrooms and costing Rs 10 lakh, the mobile toilet is equipped with bio-digesters for water conservation and solar panels for energy efficiency. It ensures the safety and security of women in public spaces, as highlighted by sanitation worker M Ratna.

Under the leadership of Harichandana Dasari, who served as District Collector from February 2020 to October 2022, over 11,000 low-cost cylindrical toilets, many for women, were constructed across the district.

District Collector Koya Sree Harsha emphasized the maintenance of these toilets by sanitation workers, noting that they are adorned with vibrant paintings and designs by local artists. Additional units are being built to enhance public sanitation facilities.

To attain ODF status, the district administration implemented various models such as mobile toilets, ring toilets at healthcare facilities, markets, and streets, as well as prefab toilets in schools and public areas. These efforts aligned with the Swachh Bharat criteria and have been recognized and praised by Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

The pink mobile toilets were lauded as one of the top initiatives under the Swachh Bharat Mission 2020.

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