In Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, an accessibility audit was organised by WAI and its partner, Samarthan, in order to analyse the water, sanitation and hygiene services at public toilets. The tool used for the audit was issued by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, GoI. Ujjain was taken as a priority city as it is one of most important religious cities, receiving numerous floating populations as pilgrimages throughout the year.
With continuous efforts, the Municipal Corporation agreed to assist WAI and its partner in assessing the public toilets based on their accessibility. The meeting was attended by Commissioner, Additional Commissioner, Zonal Officers, Health Officer, and Engineers.
The audit revealed that 42 out of 56 toilets did not have any kind of arrangement for the differently abled. Interestingly, it was also found that 90% of them had scope to convert into an accessible toilet. Thus, correct designs of each component were shared and discussed for appropriate actions.
Followings were key comments made by the Commissioner:
- WaterAid to prepare a toilet wise profile, so that the required specific actions can be planned.
- An IEC pocket booklet to be designed by WAI comprising the norms and different accessible components with measurement specifications.
- The Zonal Level Engineers to provide advisory support in making the first two toilets – accessible in every zone so that it can be replicated later. Also, he advised that it would be better organise a demonstration to convert the existing toilet into accessible ones.
- Instructed Engineering Team to factor accessibility while planning and budgeting every new public toilet in future.
- Sought support in assessing these toilets, also based on revenue generation and scope of self-sustaining finance mechanism.
The issue of accessibility turned out to be a key focus area for the commissioner as well as concerned officials, as it went beyond toilet construction. The additional Commissioner also expressed interest in making the Municipal offices accessible for all.