Even in times of emergency, we often refrain from using public toilets for their sheer lack of cleanliness and poor maintenance.
While it is quite easy to put the entire blame on municipal workers and cleaners, it is essential for us, as users, to understand that we are equally accountable for the upkeep of public toilets upkeep and have to stop misusing them.
To reduce this aversion towards public toilets, a Hyderabad-based company has come up with a unique concept—Loo Cafés!
Set up across a space measuring 170 sq. ft. in HITEC City, Hyderabad, the Loo Café comprises three different washrooms that can be used by men, women and the differently-abled. What makes it even better? There is a café and an ATM within this enclosure!
Recently inaugurated by KT Rama Rao, the Minister of State for Information Technology, Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Textiles and NRI Affairs, this unique idea was conceptualised by IXORA FM, a facilities management company, in collaboration with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), which had also allocated the space for the café to the company.
Set up at an investment of ₹12 lakh, these toilets are not like regular loos. While the entire structure is fashioned out of prefabricated-wood that is fire and insect-proof, the ‘smart’ Loo Café makes use of IoT (Internet of Things) solutions for its energy and resource requirements.
Different facilities include a Wi-Fi zone, a centrally air-cooled space, a dedicated radio station on ‘hygiene’ and Swachh Telangana, facial recognition software for enhanced security and a sanitary napkin dispenser.
“The toilet can be monitored and controlled from the office of the company, by using special devices, to check energy consumption, air circulation and will operate accordingly,” said Abhishek Nath, founder and CEO of IXORA FM to Deccan Chronicle.
Unlike most public toilets, one doesn’t have to pay for using the washrooms. Instead, the concerned authorities envision revenue procurement through the adjoining café that would sell regular snacks and beverages—all under ₹30.
The company aims to set up 100 more Loo Cafés in next six months that across different public spaces in Hyderabad with the help of GHMC.
One can easily find the current Loo Café and the others as they are flagged off, by using the app ‘LooCafé Locator.’ The company also plans to expand this sustainable model across other Tier I and II cities like Mumbai, Indore, Pune, Chennai and Mohali.
“The Loo Café aims to ensure hygiene, waste management and sanitation across the nation. Our goal is to achieve open defecation free cities by 2019,” Nath told The Times of India.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)