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Indian Town Proposes Incentive to Curb Open Defecation

The Pardi municipality in India’s western state of Gujarat is of the view that many of the public toilets in the region lay unused because they are all “pay and use” facilities and people tend to defecate in the open rather than pay.

Pardi, a small town near Surat, India's diamond hub, is in the news for an interesting reason. A civic body in the city has proposed a monetary incentive to people who use their mobile toilets and shun open defecation. So, effectively, if the proposal is cleared by the appropriate authorities, one can be in a situation to earn money by using public toilets.

In a bid to meet its open defecation-free targets, the civic authority of Pardi has proposed a monetary benefit of INR 5 ($0.07) to every user of the mobile toilets installed by it.  

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"There are many slums in our town where people go out in the open to defecate early in the morning or late at night. So, I thought of putting the mobile toilets to use in slum areas. Our motive is that people should be given a better alternative, and to create awareness and make people habitual of using toilets, we will give Rs 5 to each user," Pardi Municipality Chairman Devendra Shah was quoted by the Indian Express.

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The proposal will now be put before the general board meeting of the civic body next week and is likely to be passed unanimously as both the ruling party and the opposition are in support of the initiative.

However, there are many who do not concur with the civic body's views.

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"Public toilets are left unused because they are not maintained. There is not enough staff to maintain hygiene. Even when money is given as an incentive, it cannot guarantee that people will use it since people look for facilities that are user-friendly. The move of the Pardi municipal body is another attempt in vain," Durga Patidar, the program coordinator of the Gunjan NGO working with the urban poor in western India, told Sputnik.

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