Thiruvananthapuram: A 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 Kerala.
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 said.
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, he said.
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, Vinod added.