Thiruvananthapuram: As a woman-friendly step, a state agency in Kerala has embarked upon a plan to set up public toilets exclusively for women in city centres and tourist locations, the first such initiative in the country.

The State Women's Development Corporation (KSWDC) plans to build 35 "she toilets" in the state capital in the first phase of the project.

According to KSWDC M D P T M Sunish, lack of hygienic public toilets is a cause for concern for women, especially those who are working and travelling. Recent studies have shown that this factor is behind many health problems affecting women in the state.

The potable toilets will have a number of features ranging from sanitary-napkin vending machines and incinerator to burn used napkins and self-washing and automatic sterilisation facility, Sunish said.

The pilot project will be implemented here and then expanded to other parts of the state after evaluating its success.

"E-toilets are not new for us. It is present in almost all metro cities in India. But e-toilets with exclusive women friendly facilities is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country," said Sunish.
"We have got government approval and tenders will be called soon. As a pilot project, a total of 35 'she-toilets' will be installed in various locations in the capital city by the end of this month," he said.

Automatic payment collection, automatic door opening, 'busy' and 'free' display boards, an automatic platform cleaning system and an attached 'baby station' for diaper changing for babies are some major facilities at the proposed 'she-toilets'.

Operation of these eco-friendly toilets would be controlled through GPS technology, Sunish said.

The spots to set up the toilets would be decided in consultation with the City Corporation and the Public Works Department, he added.