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Home / Tech / Google Maps updated with info on 58,000 public toilets in India

Google Maps updated with info on 58,000 public toilets in India

Google Maps started showing information on public toilets in India earlier this summer.

tech Updated: Dec 08, 2019 11:20 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
New Delhi
Google Maps public toilets update in India.
Google Maps public toilets update in India.(REUTERS)

Information on around 58,000 public toilets across 2,500 cities are now available on Google Maps, which is helping the government to maintain the public sanitation facilities on a real-time basis, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday.

While replying to the concerns raised by some of the members during a debate in Rajya Sabha over lack of facilities such as water, cleanliness etc at the public toilets, Puri said, “These are all complaints of a bygone era” and almost five years old.

“Nowadays, information on these toilets are publicly available. (Information on) 58,000 toilets across 2,500 cities are available on Google Maps,” Puri said.

The Union minister for Housing and Urban Affairs added that during his field visits in the earlier period of his tenure, he had directed officials to provide the coordinates of each toilets, so that it is accessible on the internet. He has also directed them to make available the name of the person or official responsible for its cleanliness.

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“Today, if a toilet is not maintained or if it is not usable then we are able to fix it with the use of technology on a real-time basis,” Puri said, adding “these complaints has decreased considerably.” Meanwhile, over the ban on single-use plastics in the country, without citing a timeframe, the minister said the country would try to achieve it in a “record time”.

“That work has assumed great speed and I am very happy to say all parts of our society -- civil society, academia, the ministries of the government and the common citizens, all have taken it to the process, and I am very sure that the work in terms of objective, will be achieved again in record time,” he said.

The Union minister said the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools and digital mediums is a central part of the Swachh Bharat Mission. The government had set a target to build 66 lakh individual toilets in the urban areas, which covers five crore people, he said.

Besides, 3 lakh community toilets have also been provided targeting the people from economically weaker section and mobile toilets have been made available at places facing lack of space, the minister said.

“We have almost met the physical targets but the real success of these schemes would be mapped through behavioural changes,” he said, adding that from the project of a government, it has now become a ‘Jan Andolan’ (public movement) and it is “clearly visible” now.

He further added that aim of the government is to make Open Defecation Free (ODF) and have a scientific solid waste management. According to him, except one state, entire India is now ODF. Without naming the state, Puri said it would complete the target by the end of this month.

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“Rural area is now ODF and as far as urban India is concerned, I am hoping that early in the new year, we would be able to declare, the entire country ODF based on a third party verification,” he said.

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The minister further said that now the government is taking further steps and is now heading for ODF + and ODF ++ protocol tag. These tags deal with disposal of fecal sludge generated from toilets, so that they are safely contained and transported so that water bodies are not contaminated.

Many states and Union Territories have become ODF and “99 per cent of our statutory towns, which is 4,320 out of 4,378, have become ODF of which 4,155 have been certified by third party. 720 cities has been certified as ODF + and 288 cities as ODF ++,” he added.

The minister said the government would continue to add new targets. Puri was replying to a private member bill brought by BJP member Prabhat Jha, who had sought incorporation of cleanliness as fundamental duty of the citizen through a constitutional amendment in Article 51A. Jha withdrew the Constitution (Amendment) Bill after expressing satisfaction wth the minister’s reply.