coin is dropped into the slot and bingo the door to the toilet
slides open, the light and exhaust fan turn on. And after use, in
case you forget to flush, the automated flushing turns on and
sterilizes the commode too. Welcome to unmanned electronic public
toilets that are making their presence felt in India.
Delight, the country's first e-toilet unit, has been developed by
city-based Eram Scientific Solutions (P) Ltd. It is part of Eram
Group, a company which has operational presence in India, the Middle
East and Southeast Asia.
Currently, there are 16 units installed, of which six are in Greater
Noida, in Uttar Pradesh, while the rest are at various places in
M.S. Vinod, director of Eram, said this e-toilet is a result of a
convergence of electronics, web and mobile technologies.
"It features an automated door opening, power flushing, automatic
closet washing and sterilization, and automatic platform cleaning
mechanism, all backed by SMS alerts to inform the control room about
the status of water tank and bio gas plant in the event of any
errors or failures," Vinod told IANS.
An e-toilet occupies around 20 square feet and has two doors -- a
sliding door at the front, and a normal door ahead of the toilet.
"As soon as the coin (entry charge) is dropped, the sliding door
opens and the light and the exhaust fan come on. Inside the toilet
there is a bucket, mug and all other items. In case the user does
not flush the toilet after use, the system automatically does all
the cleaning operations."
"The human excreta is treated and it is reduced to a sand-like
material, which will not have any bacteria and it is removed
physically once in three months," said Vinod.
Its unique structure facilitates the display of advertisement boards
on its outer surface. This can act as a source of additional income
for its operators.
Delight's model gives more emphasis on advertisement revenue,
whereas the only source of income in the traditional public toilets
is in the form of coins. He said 15 more units in Kozhikode city and
one in Kochi are under installation. "It is expected that 2,000
units in Kerala and 8,000 units in other Indian cities are possible
in the next financial year," said Vinod.
The price of this e-toilet varies from Rs.350,000 to Rs.850,000
(inclusive of bio-membrane reactor's price).
Bio-membrane reactor is a nano-technology- aided device that
instantly recycles the used water and makes it ready for future use,
The price depends on the manufacturing materials like fibre, metal
sheets, stainless steel, MS pillars and a combination of the said
materials. Electronic and cleaning features will be the same for all
variants, but more facilities for physically challenged, women and
children will be added to the top models.
Other specialities of this product include efficient water
conservation techniques. Besides, the entire waste decomposing is
through bio enzymes and reusing the water.
This unit can be managed from a remote location and the system can
be closed down, or remote washing can be done through GPRS controls.
The average life of a unit is estimated to be around 7-10 years,
(Sanu George can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)