Shimla is often referred to as the "Queen of Hills," a term coined by the British. The city is located in the middle ranges of the Himalayas, about 2,400 m above the sea level. The floating population (service sector) and tourists constitutes a sizable portion of the total population of Shimla (56,000 persons in 2001; 76,000 by 2011). Shimla is easily accessible by city transit but citizens and visitors often cannot find a public toilet when they need one. Looking at individual sanitation facilities, some wards fare better than others. Middle income residential areas have 100% access to individual toilets, while the low income group and urban poor population are more dependent on public toilets. Inadequate toilet provision results in open defecation remaining a problem, especially in low-income settlements, market areas and labour areas (construction, etc.).

As part of the GIZ Support to the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Govt. of India, and along with the Note of Co-operation between Himachal Pradesh State, Shimla City and GIZ, GIZ is supporting MC Shimla in the improvement of public toilet services.

Activities undertaken under the respective PTM Process Steps

GIZ through its partners - Akara Research and iDeCK - supported the city of Shimla in how to establish and ensure an efficient Public Toilet Management process that covers assessment, planning, strategies, implementation, monitoring and sustainability. Key interventions and results along the PTM process are:

Process Step 1: Supply and Demand Assessment

Data Collection:

Primary research (inventory analysis, perception survey analysis) and secondary research were conducted by GIZ with its partner Akara Research to obtain the city’s first and second hand information. The data was collected for all functional and non-functional toilets of Shimla. The collected data was assimilated and the existing situation was analyzed by iDeCK on various parameters that has helped in taking informed decisions on the tendering process.

Data Management - Online Inventory Tool:

The project reviewed the current data management system of the municipal corporation to design an online data and asset management system for public toilets (inventory) and to validate the completeness and quality of existing PT data. There was focus on the requirements of women, physical inventory and status of all public toilets as well as maintenance and training requirements. The new online inventory system (www.shimla.akara.co.in) has helped Shimla to identify the investment requirements for major and minor renovation. Categorizing the data highlighted the areas requiring renovation i.e. number of taps not working, painting status, roof condition, floor condition etc., based on which the sanitary inspectors in-charge could estimate the likely costs for renovation (total cumulative cost of Rs. 28,000,000).

Process Step 2: Planning and Strategy

Public Toilet Task Force:

As part of the GIZ support, a Sanitation Task Force (STF) headed by the Commissioner and comprising officials from associated departments was constituted to support the various PTM processes under the CSP implementation. Awareness raising and stakeholder consultations succeeded in bringing MC Shimla executive staff and council members from the three ruling parties together on one table to jointly work towards the improvement of sanitation in the city. The Sanitation Tasks Force’s members are the Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, Chief Health Officer, Water Supply Engineer, Project Coordinator, EU Project, JNNURM Project Cell Representative, GIZ Technical Expert, as well as the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and interested council members on relevant subjects. The core group’s role is to support the process of developing various tools and instruments, inter-departmental coordination and introduction of technical advice provided by GIZ. The decisions taken in the eight core group meetings since June 2014 have been forwarded to city council for approval and implementation. Key successes have been: (1) single point of contact for discussions and decision making to support quick implementation; (2) fast track dissemination of information, clearances and multiple processes managed by the city; (3) inter-departmental knowledge sharing for incorporating and aligning of efforts; (4) a common technical decision point for obtaining council approvals.

Decision Making Framework:

The city analysed different cluster options to ensure improved public toilet management. The findings from the inventory study, user perception studies and secondary research guided the selection of the public toilet model and formulation of planning and design norms and technical design. The clustering approach helped towards understanding the economics of operating toilets by defining the pros and cons, risks, and financial viability of the different toilet types and cluster options; and choosing the correct business model. The city shortlisted three cluster options (revenue potential based clustering – high, medium, low). Each has different qualification criteria as per the respective operational and business models, to help select the most suitable operator for each cluster: ROMT or O&M contract for clusters 1 & 2 (high & medium footfall); Community-based model for Cluster 3 (low footfalls).

Business Model Selection:

The findings from the inventory study, user perception studies and secondary research, helped Shimla defined the process for sustainable management of public toilets and formulate the performance standards for public toilets. The clustering approach helped understand the economics of operating toilets by defining the pro’s and con’s, risks, and financial viability of the different toilet types and cluster options; and chose the business model. Shimla is currently formalizing the ROMT contract and will follow the Tirupati funding strategy. The stakeholder obligations (MCS and operator) will be integrated through the service charter in the contractual terms. Moreover, Shimla conducted a sensitivity analysis to assess how revenues change with different user charge regimes and varying footfall.

Detailed Project Report (DPR) and Action Plan:

The city followed Tirupati’s DPR Framework to prepare the PT rehabilitation DPR under the ROMT contract.

Process Step 3: Implementation

Contracts Agreements and Procurement:

Tender documents have been prepared for the city’s three shortlisted cluster options (revenue potential based clustering – high, medium, low). Each has different qualification criteria as per the respective operational and business models, to help select the most suitable operator for each cluster. Main contractual aspects for the different clusters are: ROMT or O&M Contract for Clusters 1 & 2 – high & medium footfall (revenues just sufficient to cover O&M): (1) Operator: minor and major maintenance works; MCS: finance renovation works; (2) Operator receives periodic payments during operation period and grant for refurbishment (based on viability); (3) Listing of specific details for each toilet (inventory, current status, repair works) and basic amenities for all toilets. Community-based model for Cluster 3 – low footfalls: (1) Operator to take assistance from community for operating the toilets (requires training in book-keeping, monitoring the usage of toilets, etc.); (2) Maintenance through service contracts, specifying cleaning cycles for peak and non-peak hours; (3) monthly passes at nominal rates to regulate usage; (4) MCS ensures adequate water and power supply and covers cost of construction.

Awareness Generation

The development of the City Communication Action Plan for Sanitation (SCCAPS) has helped to identify broad issues of public toilet management requiring communication interventions. Consultation of different government departments, ward visits and community interactions (residents, councilor of a slum colony) led to a first communication pilot. The project tries to reinforce what is working well and address issues not working through a clear communication strategy and respective actions: (1) Create awareness on the impact on health, hygiene and living (particularly the need to protect vulnerable groups like women and children) and promote specific behavior. (2) Appeal to residents to take pride in a clean and hygienic Shimla as a city to live in and a popular tourist destination and support MCS initiatives through their own actions. (3) Educate and impart information about citizens’ duties and penalties arising from non-compliance and recognize good behavior and best practices. The demonstration of tangible results and information campaigns are key to overcome old habits and resistance to change by facilitating better understanding and as such a change of perception and behavior. This needs to be supported by adequate public toilet infrastructure.

Process Step 4: Monitoring

Monitoring Framework:

The inventory analysis showed most toilets lacked basic facilities (user perception survey). With access to toilets being a basic human right, Shimla decided to develop performance standards that are the same for each toilet irrespective of its revenue potential, user type or any other aspect of toilet: (1) 100% cleanliness in and around toilet throughout day; (2) Operational from 6am–8pm; (3) Availability of running water for flushing and ablution; liquid soap and toiletries; lights (inside, outside, on access road); exhaust fans, hand dryers, paper napkins; complaint register; user charge display (collection as per agreed rates); cleaning time sheets (filled by cleaner); (3) All electrical fixtures working (timely replacement); (4) Women’s toilets with separate cleaner; (4) Regular maintenance of all plumbing, floors, pump, etc. (replacement if required); (5) Half-yearly painting; and (6) Data collection on water usage, footfalls, etc. as specified by Municipal Cooperation Shimla (MCS) in contract.

Process Step 5: Sustainability & Integration

Institutional Strengthening:

In the SNUSP Phase 1, the constitution of CSTF proved beneficial to guide the implementation of the CSP. Shimla constituted a similar task force to support the efforts around public toilets processes under the CSP implementation, comprising of MC Shimla executive staff and council members from the three ruling parties (Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, Chief Health Officer, Water Supply Engineer, Project Coordinator, EU Project, JNNURM Project Cell Representative, GIZ Technical Expert, as well as the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and interested council members for relevant subjects). Bringing together the three parties to jointly improve sanitation in the city has been a success in itself. The core group’s role was to support the process of developing various tools and instruments, inter-departmental coordination and introducing the technical advice provided by GIZ. Eight core group meetings have been held since its constitution in June 2014. Decisions taken have been forwarded to the city council for approval and implementation. Key successes have been: (1) single point of contact for discussions and decision making to support quick implementation; (2) fast track dissemination of information, clearances and multiple processes managed by the city; (3) inter-departmental knowledge sharing for incorporating and aligning efforts; (4) a common technical decision point for obtaining council approvals.

Gender Compliance:

The city identified 3 gender-sensitive public toilet projects for the rehabilitation, operation and maintenance of a total of 125 public and community toilets across the city. A detailed gender analysis was carried out to select the toilets and assess user perceptions from a gender perspective. This included field visits to 9 toilets (7 public toilets and 2 community toilets), one-to-one discussions with female users and observing usage pattern and physical infrastructure. Gender-relevant criteria and indicators from the female users’ perspective have been developed for the complete project and are being applied in the respective project steps – assessment, planning and strategy (design, tendering), implementation (construction, O&M) monitoring and sustainability. For instance, during the development of the contract documents, gender needs were integrated as one area requiring compliance. The respective service charter was translated into indicators that form the basis of the monitoring framework. The operator’s services are being assessed on specific gender aspects such as women’s needs, safety during access, privacy, etc.