Once a naxalite affected area, Medak will soon become open defecation free going by the increased sanitation related activities being undertaken by the district administration, according to District Collector, Ronald Rose.
In August 2015, the Government of Telangana launched a comprehensive rural development programme titled, Grama Jyothi to improve service delivery to the people in core sectors by strengthening Gram Panchayats.
As per the programme, rural communities will decide priorities of their developmental needs, specific to their village and the government will act upon them. While the programme seeks to exploit the enormous collective energy of the people, making them active partners in the development process, it would bring the much needed accountability and transparency in the functioning of public institutions.
When the programme was launched, each of the Collectors was asked to adopt three districts and work for their development.
As per Mr. Rose’s choice, the backward and interior village of Malkapur which is situated in the Toopran Mandal of Medak district came under his purview.
On his first visit there, he inspected the village and called for a grama sabha. He spoke to the people on various water and sanitation issues that could improve health and wellbeing of the whole village. However, when he went there a month later, he could tell that there was no response; people were not really interested. He therefore called for another grama sabha.
“I told them that if they do not participate in cleaning up their village, I will drop the idea of adopting the village,” Rose recalled. That seemed to impress upon the women and youth. They felt motivated to follow good sanitation practices by building toilets.
The Sarpanch too played a crucial role in convincing people to own toilets. It was through their collective efforts that construction of individual toilets began and Shramadhan was held every Sunday where the entire community participates in cleaning up the village.
Three months later when Rose went to the village, it looked considerably cleaner. That’s when he introduced the soap pit technology, pointing to the open drains and stagnant water and mosquitoes. The simple technology could treat waste water and at the same time replenish ground water, while doing away with the mosquito menace.
In due course, the district administration sanctioned solar street lights, drip irrigation, water pipe connection in every house, and house to house collection of dry and wet waste, having provided every house with two bins.
In December 2015, Malkapur was declared ODF. The credit for monitoring the ODF status goes to the women, Rose said.