Hyderabad’s Loo Cafes expand footprints to Srinagar

Hyderabad: After successfully installing and running free-to-use luxury public toilets with cafes attached to them in Telangana, a Hyderabad-based start-up is now building its innovative ‘Loo Cafes’ on the banks of the picturesque Dal Lake in Srinagar.

Having completed 425 installations in Telangana, Ixora FM, a facilities management company, is expanding its footprints to Jammu & Kashmir.

The first of the five Loo Cafes planned around the world famous lake in Srinagar will be launched on October 2.

“We are one of the first start-ups in the country to actually become part of the Jammu-Srinagar ecosystem. We started our installation near Nishat Garden at Dal Lake,” founder and CEO of Ixora FM, Abhishek Nath told IANS from Srinagar.

Being installed under Public Private Partnership (PPP) as was done in Telangana, the five Loo Cafes are expected to be completed in October. The company has a target of installing 25 luxury public toilets in Jammu & Kashmir.

Unlike Loo Cafes installed in Hyderabad, those around Dal Lake will have zero discharge.

“We want to cater to Jammu Srinagar society as well as tourists. It is an installation with a difference. It is 100 per cent eco installation with total recycle and zero discharge, making it extremely unique because the area is eco-friendly and you cannot have any discharge out,” Nath said.

While the company invested Rs 15 lakh in each Loo Cafe in Hyderabad, the cost for each unit in Srinagar will be Rs 25 lakh. “The area will be slightly large and it will be more high tech. Its biggest USP is zero discharge. As it is coming up on the banks of Dal Lake and we can’t afford to have a single drop discharging into the lake,” he said.

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The Loo Cafes in Srinagar have also been planned keeping the local culture in mind. “We will have a special ‘wazu’ zone built in the toilet so that people can do ablutions for prayers. We also kept in mind that all WC points don’t face the West. We have kept all basic nitty-gritty in mind.”

These Loo Cafes will also be 100 per cent insulated and will be equipped with water-heating systems keeping in mind the winter and snowfall in Srinagar.

It was in 2018 that Ixora FM opened its first Loo Cafe in Hyderabad, changing the very concept of public toilets.

The luxury loo built over 170 square feet space with user-friendly wash-rooms separately for men, women and the physically-challenged has a cafeteria attached, serving standardised food round-the-clock.

Armed with ATMs, camera surveillance, free WiFi, the air-conditioned and ‘smart’ Loo Cafe uses Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to help achieve energy and resource efficiencies. It also runs a dedicated radio channel providing music and airing messages on sanitation and hygiene.

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Equipped with a back-end command centre with a 24-hour monitoring system, the Loo Cafes have stink sensors, CCTVs, water ATM, sanitary napkin vending machine and incineration.

Nath recalled that when they started, there were a lot of thoughts why a loo and a cafe should be together and why it should not be called Cafe Loo instead of Loo Cafe. He said people have really taken to the idea of clean and hygienic washrooms well.

“Post COVID efficiency of clean washrooms has increased but there is a lot of work to be done. Larger cities need to have more infrastructure in terms of mobile vans cleaning technology,” he added.

Nath revealed that they have received permission from Tamil Nadu for installation of Loo Cafes and the work would begin soon in that state.

The company is targeting monuments and heritage sites across the state to build Loo Cafes.

“Building washrooms is easy but opex maintenance is difficult. Global statistics show washrooms fail in the first three months of operation because they are not maintained and managed properly,” he said.

Loo Cafe has shown a new and successful model, changing the concept of public toilets from filthy and stinky places to clean, hygienic and luxurious washrooms with various facilities attached to them.

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