By Mahima Devkota, Kathmandu, Apr. 7: Mobile public toilets that have proved to be the best alternative to public toilets since 2009 are, however, under shadowed and undervalued.
The mobile toilets were commenced 11 years ago by the privately owned Kathmandu Solid Waste Management Service (KSWMS) with an aim to facilitate the commuters and as well as to serve the participants during the grand ceremonies.
Four mobile toilets, at the cost of 18 lakhs each, were set up in 2009. However, two have worn out and only the remaining two are running. But, there has been an extraordinary display of indifference on part of the government as indicated by not providing any spot to park the mobile toilets.
The KSWMS has been biting the bullet against all the odds, such as lack of specified place to set up the mobile toilets as well as the support from the government.
Basudev Upreti, Executive Director of KSWMS, said, “Rather than expanding, the company has scaled down the total number of mobile toilets from four to two. And, for it to sustain too we need a separate parking spot for mobile toilets. Sometimes, the municipality and some other times the general people asked us to move out from the parked spot, and it is killing our business.
Upreti, pouring his conviviality on the matter, said, "Despite starting the business with a good faith to provide toilet facilities to denizens in Kathmandu, and working to fill the gap for public toilets, our appeal for the separate parking spot is not heeded".
Designating a specific parking spot would solve this lost case and we will be able to fill the gap of lack of public toilets in Kathmandu, and for this to happen, appropriate step from concerned authority is direly needed, stressed Upreti.
Ishwor Man Dangol, spokesperson of the Kathmandu Municipality, responded that the government has put the focus on building more public toilets rather than on mobile toilets on the question about lack of initiative from the government in this regard.
He further informed that the municipality is planning to add the number of public toilets as far as 40, bearing in mind the undersupply of public toilets in the capital.
Spokesperson Dangol, then, informed that the KSWMS needs to come on competition and win the spot if they want a parking space. There is a certain charge allocated for the spot, so we need to have the discussion about that too.
An average of 1200 people enjoy the earth closet on a daily basis at the rate of five rupees for short and ten rupees for long toilets. And, it yields KSWMS some four thousand rupees a day.
Upreti further pointed out that the capital lacks enough public toilets and mobile toilets were filling the gap of public toilets since 11 years.
In addition, Upreti highlighted KSWMS is providing service to not only the public but to government and municipalities, and also maintains sanitation and hygiene by reducing open defecation as well.
There are a total of six mobile toilets, all old, two are privately owned, two owned by the Lalitpur Municipality and one each owned by Armed Police Force (APF) and Nepal Police (NP). Where, APF and NP only serves the organisation not the public.