India – Novel rural sanitation prototype

Technocrat Sharan Desai has come up with the prototype of a new toilet that might come as a relief for women from rural Gulbarga. The project has already evinced interest among government agencies and NGOs, reports Srinivas Sirnoorkar

This might come as a relief for women from rural Gulbarga. Sharan Desai, a technocrat from Gulbarga, has come out with the prototype of a toilet that meets the needs of rural women. The prototype has already evinced interest among government agencies, NGOs and local leaders as well. This model, conceived by Desai, promises to be simple, low-cost, and above all user-friendly. It is also easy to build and maintain. The cost of each unit ranges from Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000. However if they are constructed for the community as a whole, the cost could be brought down  drastically.

Consider the recently released Gulbarga District Human Development Report-2008 to comprehend the problem of rural sanitation. In the undivided district, a mammoth 81.27 per cent of family units are without toilets. In rural areas, a mindboggling 94.86 per cent of family units do not have toilets. In urban areas the situation is only slightly better. In towns and cities of the undivided Gulbarga district, 42.83 per cent of families do not have toilets.

Failure of many schemes
Though successive governments have been spending lakhs and crores on construction of toilets, it has hardly mattered.

Even after launching much publicised schemes such as Nirmala Karnataka and Swacha Grama Yojana, there has been no significant change in the region. Even if toilets are constructed they are rendered non-functional within weeks because of faulty construction, poor maintenance, and lack of water facility.

Talking about his model, Desai explains, “I have designed the model in such a way that rural women do not feel any psychological inhibitions in using it.’’ It is a compost making rural dry public toilet design with a single pit which also contains a digestion pit within. On a community basis, a unit of five toilets can be constructed in about 90 sq ft area and in that case, the cost would further come down to around Rs 7,000 per unit. They can be built using local materials like wooden poles, dry grass, bricks, stones and tin sheets.

The toilet itself has adequate ventilation. Desai said it does not need much maintenance and waste is channelised into a pit. For general maintenance and cleanliness, one person can attend it.

The structure does not need as much water as required in the urban flush out toilets. A barrel of water kept outside would meet the needs of the users.

The Dharam Singh Foundation, a charitable institution, has volunteered to put the prototype to test in a couple of villages.

“We will construct this model at Nelogi in Jewargi taluk and Dannur in Afzalpur taluk. If all goes well we will go about building toitlets on a large scale as it will provide a much-awaited solution to rural sanitation problems,’’ Foundation Executive Trustee Ajay Singh said.

Technocrat Sharan Desai, the brainchild behind the project, who has already made a name for himself in the unique art of bottling photo frames of celebrities through the narrow opening of the bottle, has launched a project on the conservation of archaeological spots.

A man of varied interests and creativity, Desai was once nominated to the Karnataka State Planning Advisory Board. He also has a Master’s degree in ‘Urban Design and City Planning.’

“There is always scope for improvement. We will be launching the project in Dannur in May. Based on the feedback of users we can modify or make necessary changes if needed,” Desai said.

Source – Deccan Herald

3 responses to “India – Novel rural sanitation prototype

  1. hi i am nisha and i am working with an NGO that works towards development in rural areas. we are looking at various models to provide sanitation in these areas. we work with over 40 villages.
    ur model is the best i’ve seen so far and fits perfectly with our needs. how do we take this further? how can i contact you? please do let me know. we’d love to implement this model in our villages.

  2. Hi Nisha,

    This is Sharan Desai, I am very happy to know that you like my design. Please contact me at 09900052134 or you can send me mail at

    Sharan Desai, MS USA

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