Many of India's 2,000 e-toilets are standing idle because their maintenance contracts are not being renewed, according to reports. And issues such as misuse, technical glitches and people being unsure how they work are also causing problems for the high-tech lavatories.
Based on sensor technology, e-toilets were phased in across 20 Indian states from 2014 and were hailed as a sustainable solution to the country's open defecation problem. Maintained and monitored remotely, the units feature a 225-litre-capacity water tank and a red-green flashing light indicator to show whether or not the cubicle is occupied. The door unlocks when the user inserts a coin and the toilet flushes automatically after each use. And the floor cleans itself after a preset number of uses.
E-toilets are designed to save water and electricity and work with 24-hour power back-up. The hightech units are even linked to a mobile app that helps potential users to locate their nearest e-toilet. However, 87 of the 169 units in Bengaluru are standing idle because their maintenance contracts have not been renewed.
Residents of Mysuru are also complaining that their toilets are being poorly maintained - and in some cases, not even supplied with water. Meanwhile, people in Pune have highlighted a number of technical glitches such as coins not being accepted and lights that flash red when the cubicle is unoccupied.