When nature calls, you have to answer. But, finding a clean public restroom in India, irrespective of whether its a city or a village, is no mean feat. You either end up having an experience awful enough to feature in ‘Public Bathroom Horror Stories’, or you are forced to just hold it in till you are bursting at the seams.
Irrespective of being in a city or a village, the lack of hygienic public toilets is common throughout the country. But fret not, soon there will be an app for it! This App is already in Development phase and can be downloaded on Android devices from Google Play https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.neologicx.toiletfinder&hl=en
The innovative app, called Swachh Bharat Toilet Locator, was pioneered by an IAS couple, Vipul Ujwal and Sonali Giri from Punjab. In keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, the app called Swachh Bharat Toilet Locator is pioneered by the couple. The inspiration behind the innovative app was simple – on a visit to Delhi, Giri was unable to find a single washroom and decided to create something that can avoid such a situation again.
In his words: “My wife wanted to use the washroom and we simply couldn’t find one. That’s when it struck us that there is a need for the government to release an app which gives detailed information.”
The app is set to have some fairly advanced and helpful features that will provide information whether the toilet Indian or Western-style, free or paid, and whether it has additional features such as seats for the differently abled or the availability of sanitary pad dispensers, continues the report.
It also has a interface where user can rate public restrooms on hygiene, infrastructure and safety. The app will be launched soon by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD).
Working with Neeraj Sharma and Rajeev Mathur (batchmates from Institute of Management Studies (Bikaner) who pitched in with their expertise), the couple co-ordinated with municipal sanitary inspectors to map all the 600 toilets across urban centres in Punjab. The couple then approached the Union Urban Development Ministry which showed keen interest in adopting the app and asked them to upload at least 50,000 locations from across the country to make the app helpful for users.
Ujwal says “If user ratings are bad or slide considerably, the app would flag these toilets to the respective urban local bodies, which will have to remedy the situation. The idea is to not only to locate but also improve the toilets, most of which are not maintained well.”
The app also encourages citizens to be more actively involved in realizing the dream of Swachh Bharat by being a volunteer, and help by physically verifying the toilets submitted by fellow citizens. So, if a toilet is dirty, or permanently closed, user feedback could help others avoid that property. Pretty much like a Zomato for toilets!