To cater to the sanitation needs of the floating population in villages as well as in habitations of SC/ST communities and the poorest of the poor, at least one community sanitary complex (CSC) is being built in every village. The move will go a long way to ensure the sustainability of open defecation free (ODF) status of villages.
The initiative is a key component of the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) Phase II that is being implemented by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) to ensure the sustainability of ODF status. It will also provide for the sanitation needs of migrant workers and others who visit public spaces such as bazaars.
While construction of CSCs is important, their operation and maintenance (O&M) are equally important. O&M of a CSC is the responsibility of the respective Gram Panchayats. DDWS has recommended the following provisions to ensure their continued usage:
- Electricity, running water in toilets/bathrooms and for handwashing
- Cleaning material (brush, toilet cleaning powder or solution, disinfectant, soap, waste bins, etc) for regular cleaning
- Engagement of persons, SHG (Self Help Group) or agency for day to day maintenance
- Proper safety measures such as locks, latches, lighting, etc
- Regular repairs – minor and major and replacement of parts
- Regular desludging of drains, tanks connected to the CSC
- Twin pit technology is preferred, but in case of a septic tank, arrangements should be made for septage management
Even though States/Districts have the flexibility to decide on the O&M model best suited to them, they can explore the options of contracting the entire operation to an SHG or an agency; or leasing the entire facility to a private entity.
Alternatively, the day to day maintenance can be delegated to user households on a rotation basis, while the Gram Panchayat can provide for electricity, water charges, cost of cleaning material and one-time maintenance and repair works.
To meet the cost of O&M of CSCs, the GPs can raise funds in various ways. If a small shop or commercial establishment selling groceries can be attached to the CSC, the shopkeeper can be made responsible for O&M of the complex and pay a monthly rental to the GP. Else, the outer walls of the CSCs can be used for advertisement or wall paintings and the income generated from the same could be a good resource for the GP.