Once again, Pune and Punekars are in the national news, and in a positive light as well! Joining the list of several amazing individuals working for the betterment of females are Rajeev Khera and Ulka Sadalkar.
The ‘Ti for Toilet’ initiative is a collaboration between these two individuals and Pune Municipal Corporation. It involves converting old and discarded buses into clean, modern toilets for women in Pune. This collaboration is a strong stand and a fighting opportunity against the lack of hygienic public toilets in the city. While a lot of men openly urinate by the side of the road, the fairer gender cannot. Public urination is adding more problems to an already alarming list.
Upon noticing the issue, Ulka Sadalkar and Rajeev Khera, who are both entrepreneurs in the sanitation industry, decided to take action against it. In 2016, they initiated mobile toilets for women in collaboration with PMC, calling it ‘Ti for Toilet’, wherein the ‘Ti’ stands for ‘her’ in Marathi.
It all started when they both noticed the amount of public buses that end up at landfills or with scrap dealers and decided to make use of them. Buses which are 12-years or older are used to create these public toilets.
As of now, there are eleven bus-toilets parked across the city. Most of these locations are parks, tourist places, commuting areas and busy roads. These buses can be moved, but as Rajeev Khera said, it makes more sense to park it in one place so that women don’t have to keep searching for it during emergencies. They can also tell their friends, family, colleagues, and others about the location of these buses in case of emergencies. The PMC has provided parking spots for these buses, and several reputed MNCs have financially funded this initiative.
These bus-toilets are equipped with both, Indian and western toilet facilities, along with a solar panel at the top which is integrated with WiFi. It also houses other facilities like diapers, sanitary napkin dispensers and a washbasin. Dedicated staff have been deployed to ensure hygiene, and although these bus-toilets aren’t yet self-sustainable, the fee to use them is a meagre Rs. 5/-.
Both Rajeev and Ulka are currently in talks with others big corporations to restructure and increase their business model. They hope that in the future, more such endeavours can be initiated which won’t just be self-sustainable, but can also offer more facilities to Pune’s residents.