To benefit the city’s floating population, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to station relief facility vans, which are mobile multi-utility units with toilets, at major traffic signals.
These air-conditioned vans will be designed differently for men, women and differently-abled persons with several facilities such as a breast-feeding room, changing rooms, drinking water, ramps and mobile charging points among others.
The BMC is preparing an Expression of Interest (EOI) for appointing an agency that can set up 80 such vans at major traffic signals.
Officials from the BMC said the idea of relief facility vans was to cater to Mumbai’s massive floating population, which requires more toilets in public places.
According to the BMC, the city has a shortage of at least 80,000 toilet seats.
“Our plan is to station relief facility vans in which, apart from toilets, multiple things will be placed. For women, breast feeding area, changing room, charging points, drinking water, small dustbins can be placed. The BMC will appoint an agency that can provide such vans. In Mumbai, the floating population in many commercial and business areas is more than a lakh daily. The availability of toilets in such areas is difficult due to a high population density. So stationing such vans will give some relief to residents,” an official from the solid waste management (SWM) department told The Indian Express, on condition of anonymity.
The proposal is yet to be cleared by higher officials of the civic body. The BMC will first start this initiative on a pilot basis at 80 locations near major traffic signals. “The vans will be placed at every alternate signal for men and women and one relief facility after every fifth signal for children or differently-abled people. The agency will also get the task of raising awareness,” said another BMC official.
The appointed agency will also have to ensure that the human waste from the toilet will be unloaded to a cesspool vehicle or nearby sewerage line. Officials from the SWM department said the agency could also levy charges for facilities provided by them in relief facility vans.
However, the charges and final decision on this will be taken by the joint municipal commissioner of the SWM department. An official from the SWM department said since the van will be stationed at traffic signals, the agency appointed by the BMC will have to seek permission from the Road Transport Office and abide by traffic rules.