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The WE CARE FOR CHENNAI Network is not currently active and cannot accept new posts
Public toilets in ChennaiViews: 1171
Jan 24, 2006 9:22 amPublic toilets in Chennai#

Where The MIND is Without FEAR
Hi Folks,
Our chennai with a population of 70lakhs and a floating population of 14 laks(approx 20%) does not have enough public toilets and as a result of this, we find quite a lot of poeple relieving themselves wherever it pleases them.
I was recently reading an article on the status of public toilets in Shanghai, China, where conditions were even worse than chennai. But then looking at globalisation, they have improved the std., to international stds.
I think we too should start an initiative and look into the posibilities of public participation of improving these facilities.
I think to start with , we can check with Chennai corporation, and get to know the formalities of putting up public toilets.
Then we can rope in the NGO team and major clubs like Lions, Rotary for participation, apart from asking big corporate houses to sponser a few.
To get to know about the operations, wecan interact with Rajasthani association who are running a few such facilities.
If needed we can also interact with local exnora clubs,
Lets start,

Private Reply to Where The MIND is Without FEAR

Jan 24, 2006 9:34 amre: Public toilets in Chennai#


Private Reply to SOEB FATEHI

Jan 24, 2006 1:24 pmre: Public toilets in Chennai#

Govind Srinivasan
We planned quiet a few activities in the past. But couldn't even start anything, as we couldn't gather that typical mass that is required to stay put with the work.

All of us are in different age groups and different occupations / profession / business. We have, amidst us, quiet a few who have done a lot of service-oriented projects and obviously having fund of experience. We have people, who are raring to go, take cudgels and contribute their mite to "make Chennai a better place to live in", but are yet to get down to the work. There are a good lot of people in between these 2 categories, who form the bulk.

As I said earlier, we require a few youngsters, who have the untiring spirit to accomplish what we plan. The world itself propels with the energy of the youth and WCFC cannot be any exception.

The conversion rate of Online empathies, commitments and the gung-ho feeling of "we will achieve definitely" to real time accomplishments is very meagre. WCFC can be no different.

People, who can spend some time of their own, some energy of their own and definitely some money too of their own are the need of the hour in WCFC. Even to run this "Message Board" in Ryze Network, there is an expenditure of about Rs.500/- per month. (You have to be a Gold member, if you want to run your own "Message board" that costs this money).

There is a saying in Tamil that can be translated into English like this:

"The crane waits patiently on the shallow water in the river, with a pathetic look on its face, allowing all the running fish to pass off and waiting to catch that one big fish"

I require 5-6 big fish. I wonder if I am going to find them out through the net. The present calls of life is also not allowing me do a lot of leg work now that is required to find them off the net.

May be I have to be patient like that proverbial crane.

I know that Soeb will make out his inimitable observations now. All his exortions have not been able to galvanize us into action.

I didn't start WCFC to do something but definitely to accomplish certain specific goals. I am seriously look out for fellow co-ordinators, who have that proverbial "stars in the eyes and fire in the belly".

Do you feel you are that one definite target of mine? Do you think you can build relationships and be a natural leader, humble, strong, assertive and cheerful and, of course, have a great sense of humour and less of ego. Just please SMS me - 98410 36526. I would like to meet up with you very soon.

There are N number of issues that can be taken up to "make Chennai a better place to live in". The challenge is - who will tie the bell around the cat's neck?


Govind Srinivasan
98410 36526

Private Reply to Govind Srinivasan

Jan 25, 2006 3:42 amPublic toilets in Chennai#

*Soeb nods in approval as Govind rekindles hope*

Private Reply to SOEB FATEHI

Jan 25, 2006 4:42 amre: Public toilets in Chennai#

Kanchana Ravichandran
Dear Karthik,
Thanks for this post - after my own heart. I did want to do something about the public toilets and to achieve it became the Consultant for an NGO called YES International which goes around building public toilets raising their own funds and have evolved a pay and use scheme wherein the person who manages it becomes an entrepreneur - he gets his income and becomes accountable for maintaining it well and all the cleaning material and maintenance are bought from the Re. 1 paid during every use of the toilet.
I did go and meet the Chennai Corporation Commissioner and explained that the Govt need not allot any funds and YES Intl will ensure that the premises are kept clean and also help the public by providing such a facility. Was told that there are right now no Govt lands which can be alloted for Public Toilets. I even requested him to give us the Maintenance contract for the existing toilets and even that was denied as it was in the hands of the Councillors. So this is the state of affairs in Chennai.
Am sure all this will change soon. Await your feedback.

Private Reply to Kanchana Ravichandran

Jan 25, 2006 5:32 amPublic toilets in Chennai#

YES Kanchana.

We have many such Sulabh Sochalaya schemes successfully running in Mumbai where one can 'pay n pee' etc.

I understand your anxiety when you falied to elicit response from the local bodies. Did you remember to first tell them that you are here to invite them to inaugurate the scheme and the first toilet before asking for the land? No - this is not sarcasm. In any transaction the good news if presented first always adds to the purchasing power you command. And there is no conflict of ethics here either because who else can inaugurate the scheme better than a benefactor?

My knowledge of Chennai specific rules is incomplete.
As a country wide generalisation I do know that land and city survey administration does not belong to the Municipal Corporation. It is a State Govt function. Once allocated then building rules and permissions including commencement and occupancy certificates are in the scope of a Municipality or relevant LSG body.

Therefore the urban land allotment is in the domain of duty of the Home Ministry and you will do well to approach the Collectorate to first study the city survey and development plan maps. All lands earmarked for public utilities including toilets is marked therein. Once you spot open land earmarked for the purpose but unutilised you can them seek development permission from the city Collector. The land thus alloted cannot be conveyed in title but will be given either on lease for operation or on development contract where the ownership of the toilet will remain with the Municipality and the land will be owned by the State.

Additionally it will do good to research exact locations which are being used as open pissing spots for want of a toilet. Find out who is the owner of the immediately adjoining plot which is most affected. If it a privately owned property then explain to the owners that they are suffering inconvenience and a health hazard is presented too. Tell them that they will benefit by allowing a toilet
to be constructed at no cost to them. Tell them also that
they will continue to own the land and the toilet block but will incur no cost since YES will do the needfull. You will be pleasantly surprised soemtimes because a philantrophic soul will emerge amongst such owners who will want to participate in the cost too.

Let me know if you want the architectural, structural, hydraulic, and electrical design done - complimentary service at no professional fees for the first ten toilets which you build - ENCODE will do it for Chennai.

- Soeb

Private Reply to SOEB FATEHI

Jan 25, 2006 5:51 amre: Public toilets in Chennai#

Kanchana Ravichandran
Dear Shoeb,
Thanks for all the suggestions. I will try out the other options too and keep you updated.
Am touched by your offer. Will do my best to make headway. So get ready with the plans etc. Take care

Private Reply to Kanchana Ravichandran

Jan 26, 2006 12:17 pmre: re: Public toilets in Chennai#

Where The MIND is Without FEAR
HI Folks,
thanks for the respone,
There was an article in The Hindu, on the same matter, with Exnora kick starting work in these area.
If we can get the blue print of their plan,
we can
a. use them seperatly
b. jointly work with them
for now I have had talk with some Lions club office bearers, who have promsied to look into the sponsoring of a few toilets.
Ill be talking with afew rotarians too,
For starters, we can look at sponsors, and parallely work out with the corporation and other civic bodies.
Lets spread the word, and lets inform all our known circle of business house , what we would be needing.
It will be easier to translate its action once the civic bodies gives the go,
Lets do It,

Private Reply to Where The MIND is Without FEAR

Jan 26, 2006 3:42 pmre: Public toilets in Chennai#

Govind Srinivasan
This posting is for everybody in WE CARE FOR CHENNAI.

WCFC, as of now, is a virtual association. There is nothing that can be achieved, if we are continuing to exchange our ideas and strategies endlessly.

I have seen that, in the past, we have built castles on the air so beautifully. Neither I am an exception.

I became silent for some time to know if there is anybody in WCFC, who is agitated and irritated, in a positive sense, with our inability to translate our ideas into action.

I was also calling a few people, introducing myself, after seeing their enthusiastic initial posting. I also told them that I would meet them early. But, I still wanted to find out if there could be a few, who could pull me up for my not doing what I said. Alas! That too didn't work, as many were more interested in posting their messages and not really bothered so much about translating ideas into action.

I am looking for a few dedicated and public-spirited co-ordinators to run WCFC with me. I would like to share the responsibilities and make a definite departure from the present plans that stop with pounding the keyboard.




As Soeb has been putting it out, time and again, let us not big and grand plans and fall flat everytime. Let us, first, do things that just require our participation and get that confidence that we could take bigger bites.

Hmmm.... Let me give a little more time for my patience to wear out. If nothing happens in a dramatic way, I think I can look for greeny pasture elsewhere to satiate my thirst to do something constructive for the society to "make Chennai a better place to live in".

Govind Srinivasan

Private Reply to Govind Srinivasan

Jan 27, 2006 4:47 amre: Public toilets in Chennai#

I recall reading in Business World a few years ago about public conveniences of high standards in Delhi run by an individual. It operates on the pay & use model. If I am right the user had to pay Rs. 5 per use. The facility was said to be of 5 star standards and Vasant Vihar, Delhi was one of the areas where it was put up.

The entrepreneur was interviewed and had said that the venture was profitable but he could not scale up easily as it required personal supervision to maintain standards.

Perhaps this person could also be contacted to get the details.


Private Reply to Prasad

Jan 27, 2006 5:56 amre: Public toilets in Chennai#

Govind Srinivasan
Thanks to all the members who participated in this "Public toilets in Chennai" thread.

Do any one of you think that you could work on this project from this very moment? We may require 5-6 at least, who would be able to do the leg work and do nothing else, as a voluntary service, other than being in this project at least for 3-4 months. One or 2 of us may have to take this project as a long term one. You should be equipped enough and the project cannot stop for want of information or for the excuse that "we did everything but there was not much of participation from others".

I have a rider here. Working on the project doesn't mean leisurely coffee meets or reviewing the progress at a midnight party in the midst of a live band and psychedelic lights. Many a time, it will be exhausting and exacting, but still we may have to move on, unwavered and undaunting.

Ready ? Pl let me know quickly. I am here to join hands with you and do my best.

What? Not prepared. At least 5-6 of the strong-willed in this 250+ group? Then let us stop this "Public toilets in Chennai" chat and do something that which would make us physically participate from the day one. Soeb has been hammering this point only, nonstop.

There is no dearth of ideas amongst us. The challenge lies in "who will bell the cat?"

Govind Srinivasan

Private Reply to Govind Srinivasan

Jan 28, 2006 7:38 amre: re: Public toilets in Chennai#

Kanchana Ravichandran
Dear Govind,
Everything is in place. One organisation YES International which has expertise in Sanitation and Housekeeping are ready to take up the project. Karthik says he can rope in Lions Club to fund for the toilets which will be built and maintained by YES Internatiional. So with the funds, manpower - everything in place what more do we need? The members who can't come and do field work can still give their suggestions or maybe inspect the toilets once in a while and report how well it is maintained. Side by side we can conduct awareness camps where we can stress on personal hygiene. I may sound like a broken record saying that all we need to do is work in unison - there are field workers like me who are ready to do the field work and others who can give suggestions.
I was stuck as seen in my first posting. Soeb's suggestions made me rethink my plan and am going ahead. I feel first of all we all need to have a postive attitude. So am sure we will bring about a positive change very soon. Cheers all

Private Reply to Kanchana Ravichandran

Jan 28, 2006 11:29 amre: re: re: Public toilets in Chennai#

Lavanya Karalkar

Three cheers to Soeb..

Private Reply to Lavanya Karalkar

Jan 28, 2006 2:47 pmre: Public toilets in Chennai#

Govind Srinivasan
Hello Kanchana,

I have had quiet a few opportunities to discuss the ways and means of infusing life in WCFC. I am also aware of dogged pursuits to chase your targets in the service activities you choose.

You have the typical "let's go and do it" attitude, as opposed to my strategic building up of my plans. We have to make our ideas and plans meet each other for the good of WCFC. Now, let's do it.

I am still having my deep doubts, as the internet is a very powerful and in the same vein, a very deceptive medium. Net psychology is way different from the practical 1-2-1, 1-2-many and many-2-1 relations that we see in the physical world. The net is even able to replace even the feeling of satisfaction of the kind that can come about only by physical activity/participation outside the net. Many a time, people don't mean what they say when they commit something, as the group relationship they strike in the net is nebulous, while there are exceptions. Emotional bonding doesn't happen so easily in net-based relationship, particularly in community-service activities; this is typical in Asian countries, whereas it is quiet different in European countries in the US.

WE CARE FOR CHENNAI is an experiment for me to prove unto myself that what I believe (that I have said above) is wrong.

Having said this, I have that irrational confidence in me that I should trust your leadership. May I request you to use this network and plan quickly in the "Public toilets in Chennai" programme? Let's see how it turns out to be. Let me also put my studied reservations out for some time and join the plans that you would unleash. Let's develop storm.

Over to you!


Govind Srinivasan
98410 36526

Private Reply to Govind Srinivasan

Jan 29, 2006 2:41 amre: re: Public toilets in Chennai#

Kanchana Ravichandran
Dear Govind,
Thanks for your confidence in me inspite of your own reservations. As mentioned earlier, the minute Karthik is able to approach the Lions Clubs who have agreed to fund for this project, we can take off immediately. I have already sent a PM to him telling him that he need not worry about the implementing team which is right now in place. So lets see how things take shape. I never give up - if this lead is another blank wall - there are still many many ways to achieve what we want. So lets think positively and keep marching ahead - someone, someplace, sometime will be there just when we need help. Have seen this happen many a time and am confident it will happen in future too. Take care and have a great weekend.
If you are free today, do drop in at the Career Guidance Fair I am organising for the 10th, 11th and 12th students at St Ebbas - opposite New Woodlands in Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore from 10am to 6pm.

Private Reply to Kanchana Ravichandran

Jan 30, 2006 2:30 amre: re: re: Public toilets in Chennai#

Kanchana Ravichandran
Thanks a ton Govind,
Was pleasantly surprised to see you at the 2 Day Career Guidance Fair. Thanks for responding so quickly and making it there after seeing my one line posting.
The parents and students gained a lot from your talk on Bio Sciences. In spite of thrusting it on you at such a short notice, you pulled it through very successfully and created such an impact on their minds that they want another session with you soon.
This is another example of how you came to my aid in such a short notice. I still remember the first time when you dropped all other work to go to Cuddalore and help in distributing the relief material soon after Tsunami.
Again like I mentioned earlier - there is always someone who steps in to fill up the gap and help us to move forward. More than the individual its the work which is completed or the impact on the deserving is achieved.
Dr. Chandra Gupta's presence was also wonderful. He has always been supporting me and is also used to my arranging something at a short notice and handling it admirably.
So lets have the positive attitude and things will all fall in place. Have a great week ahead.

Private Reply to Kanchana Ravichandran

Jan 30, 2006 4:23 amre: Public toilets in Chennai#

Govind Srinivasan
Thanks for the invite, Kanchana, to participate in the "Career Guidance" Programme held at St.Ebba's. I really enjoyed it, as there were many children, whose eyes sparkled that eagerness to unravel newer things and thus grapply with the realities surrounding them.

I believe that Biology and Computers have got into a grid and further progress of both depend on the mutual understanding of each other's potential and limitations. Call it synergy. This belief has led me to do a lot of research for data, which gave me opportunities to convert them to information. I am using the information to develop my own knowledge, by interactions with professionals in these areas and my self-study. Well, I am just an amateur, truly speaking.

Now, let me get back to the "Public toilets in Chennai".

Hello, Karthik, I am very happy that you are putting gas into this idea of making an impact on "Public toilets in Chennai". Were you able to get any useful lead for resource-commitment from Lions or Rotary? I think the dynamic participation of Kanchana is something that we have to capitalize on, before she gets weary of WCFC.

To all the members:

If you are a resident of Chennai and when you make out your ideas in this message board, please do mention what you (as a person and an individual) propose to do. The word "We" dilutes the participative character of our messages. WCFC requires people to join and soil their hands in ones and twos and we don't have a big army to address. WCFC has a good lot of dormant members, who have shown their exuberant enthusiasm to exhort the entire group to carry on and take the mission forward. The mission of WCFC is to make the virtual world (the net-savvy ones) get into the open and feel that simple plain satisfaction of doing something hands-on that could help to "make Chennai a better place to live in".

Too much to ask for? Have you realized what a group of 10 solid volunteers can do to make an impact in our mission? Does Chennai really mean anything to you? Don't you think that blaming people and authorities won't help Chennai but individual and collective participations will?

Well, what to do now is your question? Simple! Put out your ideas and make your commitments readable to everybody. Let us do this job of collecting individual commitments first.


Govind Srinivasan

Private Reply to Govind Srinivasan

Feb 04, 2006 1:41 amPublic toilets in Chennai#

how far have we come Govind?

Private Reply to SOEB FATEHI

Feb 04, 2006 3:28 amre: Public toilets in Chennai#

Govind Srinivasan

When I opened this network "WE CARE FOR CHENNAI", I was fully aware that it would be very difficult to convert online enthusiasm into real time,practical,community-beneficial service-oriented accomplishments.

The discussion of "Public toilets in Chennai" has

I am going to bore you with my back-and-forth thoughts now, since this is the most "constructive" work that is going on in WE CARE FOR CHENNAI since long.

Soeb, as I have been telling, time and again, there is a peculiar "feel-good-factor" that the internet oozes out just by coverting hopes, despairs, ideas, etc. into words that are readable by known and unknown people. The mere action of posting a message alone probably gives some satisfaction and this is what I call "net-psychology". You might have known something called "phantom-effect". I compare the online commitments and sharing of ideas almost to this "phantom effect", while there are exceptions to it. To bore you further on this, here is something that can explain what is this "phantom effect", though I guess that you should have already read a lot on this.

Our civilization is quickly losing many of the paradoxes that characterized the industrial culture of 1860-1960. Through the entertainment economy, we are increasingly becoming tourists in our own cities, and even in our own bodies. It is a vast hollowing out, a horizontalizing of power and “presence.”

In that cybernetic, neutralized condition, we must learn to study degrees of desensitivity much more carefully. We must learn to emphasize the power of absence as presence. As part of my newest project, on how the twentieth century was imagined before it happened (to be completed by November, 2006), I am studying the world as clinic circa 1900. I am trying to locate what absence and presence meant to the industrial Euro-American culture, under the fantasies about x-rays, electrical therapies, and particularly the fascination with synesthesia, how one sense was a phantom for another.

It is clear that phantom limb is essentially a narrative pleasure (an ache can be a pleasure as well). It is the Rembrandt effect within the body itself; and within collective memory as well. The polish of newly minted bedroom downtowns throughout Europe and the US leave us fewer tools for noticing this pleasure. So I try to archive absences within cities, within collective misremembering of the future, within narrative traditions like film noir.

Imagine a DNA molecule that has gone slightly bald. Locating that spot becomes the event of the season among scientists. Researchers try to imagine what the lost gene might have meant. It is a story in absence, an archeological pleasure, a science fiction; and very quickly leads to a rash of novels and movies, even a term used by political analysts; finally, a slang word, and a sexual entendre.


Who knows? I may also be one such person suffering or enjoying from the "phantom pleasure" of whining and telling that nothing happens.

Well, having shared my usual rantings, I still have a faint hope of finding a few people, who could energize WCFC. I have a strong hunch that most of such people are probably outside the internet. A lot of community-oriented actions take place and the internet (at least in India) is still a damp squib, I think. (Pure Pleasure activities, even sometimes in the garb of "networking" sells, of course). I have to be proved wrong.

I am open to the idea of somebody else coming forward to carry on the WCFC mission, if I can get that subjective satisfaction that she or he would be able to run the show. I am getting a kind of "itching" that I should find greeny pastures elsewhere to whet my appetite.


Govind Srinivasan

Private Reply to Govind Srinivasan

Feb 17, 2006 8:41 amre: re: Public toilets in Chennai#

Where The MIND is Without FEAR
HI Folks,
I would like to mention afew developments on this subject,
a. As Ms.Kanchana has told us there is a YES international readay to take up the project proided the land and permission are obtained from the authoities, our major problem of finding sponsors are reduced, still i have planted the idea in a few clubs , and ina few business houses.

b. This being the election year, till May, everything has to be on paper, so lets make the details ready, As mr.Soeb had volunteered to give us a detailed project report, we can request him to have the proposal including the costing and the operation costing ready. Thanks Mr.Soeb

c. This week or the follwoing , I have fixed meetings with corporation people and Exnora, and lets start gettnig the basic details from their end.

d. One idea thats crossed m mind , is to have a press conference after getting all these sponsors lined up, with their LOI, and get the news in the media. The politicians will sort of give commitments ( as usual), which can be capitalised after the e;ections.( this is my personal idea, I would like every one to brainstorm it , before we come to a conclusion)

Lets do it,


Private Reply to Where The MIND is Without FEAR

Feb 18, 2006 2:31 amPublic toilets in Chennai#

My clear and fully formed public ideas for vast mass consumption which do not require any further brainstorming, validation or endorsement . . . .

1. I have not volunteered to prepare project reports of any kind for any organisation. I am not in the business of project reports.

2. I am not interested in brainstorming of any kind with armchair intellectuals.

3. I am not a media limelight monger and do not waste time in organising media publicity about castles hanging in mid air. I do not waste my time in participating in such non value adding activities.

4. I do not indulge in cynical and sarcastic mud slinging or flippant side comments about our country's political leadership because
(a) Leaders enjoy a public mandate wherein I have enjoyed the privilege of elevating them to their stautus. Therefore any umbecoming comment about them is equally a comment about ourselves and our ability to select our leaders!
(b) Leaders (and bureaucrats) are necessary functionaries of a system which we have instituted and continue to live within by choice (without force). It is necessary to learn to respect persons who we receive help from and it is necessary to realise that snide remarks (if made) dampen the spirit of the next generation of workers who lose faith in the systems they will have to work and live within.
(c) Leaders including the ones we do not agree with are there because we have made no attempt (or lack the capability) to be there ourselves.

- - - Govind - I am available to you for specific work where you may consider me useful/necessary. Meaninglessly meandering discussions trailing into infinitely diverging tangents will get our country nowhere. Let us focus on our lives instead.

Private Reply to SOEB FATEHI

Feb 18, 2006 2:31 pmre: Public toilets in Chennai#

Govind Srinivasan

You have made a spotlight of the very spirit of WE CARE FOR CHENNAI. I don't have even a word to add to what you have said, as it is really a wholesome statement of your belief system. I hope I still will be able to find a few people, who believe in doing down-to-earth tasks to make "Chennai a better place to live in". Tough job in deed, but should be a satisfying one.

Govind Srinivasan

Private Reply to Govind Srinivasan

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