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That Gandhi may not be born again[continued]

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The next town to build Sulabh toilets was Buxar, and in 1974, Patna got a grand public toilet with 48 seats, 10 urinals and 20 baths for Rs.60,000. It became the talk of the town. All Sulabhs are pay-toilets, in order to make their maintenance sustainable. Folks in Patna were amazed that the public—that would dodge bus fares—would actually pay to use the Sulabh. Legislators and ministers visited the site daily to see this social miracle. Hopefully they learnt the lesson therein: build a quality service and people will pay.

Total clean-up:

Sulabhs began to sprout everywhere and Pathak's mind turned to alternative occupations for workers made redundant wherever a Sulabh came up. The first step was to get municipalities not to retrench them. Then his organisation began training courses to enble scavengers take up carpentry, tailoring, building trades and so on. Some women have even become beauticians- some change that, for the once untouchables.

He started a school for their children where English-medium courses are run to enhance their self-esteem. A research wing at Sulabh constantly develops related technologies. There have been bio-gas generators, water clarifiers, compost granulators, and of course new design variations of the Pan-Y-Two system. There's a Toilet Museum in the Sulabh campus in Delhi to make people comfortable enough to discuss the sanitation issue. He has been an activist for getting appropriate legislation passed. Recognition too has come from all over the world for his sustained work over three decades pursuing a single idea.

Sparing Gandhi:

But the task is huge. Over 7 million toilets are still being scavenged by human beings in India. We need 10 million toilets to eradicate scavenging. Get a measure of that task by noting that in 30 years Sulabh has managed to build just 1.5 million of them. More people, groups and towns have to get active.

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