Union Urban Development minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday launched a Google toilet locator that will help people search toilets in Delhi-NCR, as well as Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
The Google platform offers over 6,200 public toilet locations, including their availability in shopping malls, hospitals, bus or train stations, petrol pumps and metro stations.
Naidu said the objective of achieving open defecation-free (ODF) status for cities and towns entails not only construction of toilets but also ensuring regular usage.
The Urban development ministry has partnered with Google and August Communications to provide location of toilets on Google Maps Platform. This service will be accessible to users both in English and Hindi language.
“We have already collated community and public toilet data in five cities of NCR (Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Noida) and two cities from MP (Indore and Bhopal). In fact, the Delhi-NCR region alone has more than 5,100 toilets listed,” he said.
According to Delhi government statistics, over five lakh people in Delhi defecate in the open. The government’s slum development agency, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), found that there are 259 open defecation spots in Delhi.
The DUSIB has been assigned the task of making the city open defecation-free. It says that there is a need for 24,036 toilet seats across 70 assembly constituencies in the city.
Earlier this week, the New Delhi Municipal Council deployed costumed mascots, who will blow a whistle when someone is seen defecating or urinating. “We don’t want to fine them immediately. So we will just shame them and spread awareness,” said an official.
Naidu on Thursday also launched a reverse vending machine that has been installed by the NDMC at Palika Bazar. It aims at promoting behavioural attitude, change of mindset and motivating people to throw plastic bottles and cans in the machine.
“The machine is a waste bin-cum-kiosk, which will act as a waste receptacle recycling bottles and cans. Anyone can drop a plastic bottle in it and get attractive coupons and prizes in return. The aim is to promote recycling of waste material and faster behavioral change,” an NDMC official said.