It pays to use an Indian public toilet

July 7, 2008

rtr1e5ov.jpgLast month, authorities in a southern Indian state fined people caught urinating in public view for a few days.

This week, officials in a remote town started offering people money for using public urinals.

Quite amused reading these news items, I wonder whether we are witnessing the winds of change finally in India or are we just watching another piece of local image-building exercise before elections ?

In India, a drive to ensure cleanliness in streets for a week or so is a common exercise, but people often forget such drives in a hurry and the street corners are suddenly smelling again and people using handkerchiefs and sometimes masks to cover their nose.

But the novel idea of asking people to earn money by using a public urinal was certainly worth noticing I thought.

 Dozens of people are queuing up to use toilets in Musiri, a remote town in Tamil Nadu state, where authorities are succeeding in keeping street corners clean with the new scheme.

 The urine was also being collected and tested for its efficacy as a crop fertiliser, an official of Tamil Nadu’s  agricultural university said.

The poor of Musiri, are earning upto a dollar a month and very happy to keep the street corners clean.

 Will initiatives like fining people or offering money work in a country like India, where basic sanitation eludes millions and people flout rules without bothering about the law ?

7 comments

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Nice piece. Good to see such nice, odd stories. Keep it up.

In INDIA , where we people are really not enjoying the quality of life the western countries have inspite of a globally growing & challenging economy. In a Optimistic perspective , even though it doesnt hold good as a long term solution , these steps will atleast make the people feel the difference and will push towards seeking a quality & hygieninc life to their administrators.
More like making a person feel good of being good rather than simply pointing out his mistakes.

Let us hope our people will soon consciously be hygiene and let us all have a very good quality life .

LET US MAKE IT HAPPEN . JAIHIND

Posted by Balasubramanian.T | Report as abusive

How about making it illegal to urinate on within certain distance of any public roads and sidewalks and actually enforcing these laws by better policing? Secondly, have clean private toilets people can use by paying a nominal fee so that they don’t urinate in public. Paying people to use public toilets is a stupid idea. That means the toilets are in bad condition and that you would have to pay someone to actually use it!

Posted by Babu | Report as abusive

The first tag in your blog post on urinals is “caste”. What has caste got to do with your story? It does not even appear once in your story. So-called journalists like you give the rest of India a poor name.

Posted by Chandra P. | Report as abusive

Why we can’nt praise anything that is good?? We love to point out figures on every bad things that lies with the system. But never take any initiatives to try to correct them. Even if the authorities or any one tries do something good, we criticize and suspect it??? WHY???????

Posted by Akhilesh Shukla | Report as abusive

Certainly, this is a very thoughtful initiative. But people must realise that this is being done for restoring cleaniless in the city and is not a channel for earning money. Afterall, for how long will the authorities go on giving money to these people.

Posted by Nupur | Report as abusive

what if they are just faking for the sake of money??