Thoothukudi is a frontrunner in sanitation


As many as 436 community sanitary complexes (CSCs) had been constructed in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu during 2001-2004 of which 403 are integrated women’s sanitary complexes (IWSC) and 33 are integrated men’s sanitary complexes (IMSC).  During the Swachh Sundar Samudayik Shauchalaya (SSSS) competition that began in November 2019, all these CSCs were renovated.

The innovative activities and interventions made to improve sanitation and promote health, and general hygiene among the rural population makes the Thoothukudi a forerunner in sanitation.

Organised by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, SSSS is a people’s campaign that supports the construction, painting, and maintenance of community toilets.   The purpose was to ensure that toilets are made available in public areas of rural India, particularly for the floating population and migrant labourers.

Distribution of CSCs across the various blocks of Thoothukudi:

Sl.No Name of Block IWSCs constructed IMSCs constructed Total CSCs constructed
1 Thoothukudi 20 3 23
2 Karungulam 30 3 33
3 Srivaikundam 31 3 34
4 Alwarthirunagari 30 2 32
5 Tiruchendur 15 3 18
6 Udangudi 18 3 21
7 Sattankulam 27 3 30
8 Kovilpatti 38 3 41
9 Kayathar 45 2 47
10 Ottapidaram 59 2 61
11 Vilathikulam 50 3 53
12 Pudur 40 3 43
  TOTAL 403 33 436

Today, every village panchayat in Thoothukudi has one CSC built across an area of 750 square feet.  The CSCs are equipped with toilets, bathrooms, pump room, incinerators and washing area with water and electricity supply.  For the SSSS competition, all GPs were motivated to construct, renovate, paint, and maintain all their community toilets.  70% of the CSCs are in SC/ST habitations.

Row / Line Toilets:  In Sankaralingapuram Gram Panchayat of Pudur Block, those who had inadequate space to construct a toilet were identified and new Row Toilets were constructed on Government land in the same locality.  Keys to those toilets were handed over to the individual families to ensure sustainable use of the same.  The initiative saw a visible behaviour change among families who now had access to a toilet and could put an end to their former practice of open defecation.

Other interventions pertaining to effective use of CSCs as well as their O&M are:

  • Formation of user groups (mainly from active women SHG groups) that ensure usage and maintenance of the facility
  • 3-5 families have been allotted per CSC and keys have been entrusted to them. They take care of maintenance
  • Constitution of district and block-level monitoring committees
  • IEC campaign to include poster, slogan, essay, and debate competitions
  • Mass media campaigns such as public meetings, open discussions, rallies, and engaging school children in various competitions on sanitation themes
  • Sensitization of SHG members (The district has 6786 women SHGs each with 12-20 members. They have been involved in awareness rallies and meetings, handing out of pamphlets with sanitation messages, plantation work and promoting soak pits and Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM)
  • Convergence with line departments
  • Organising special Gram Sabha meetings on sanitation and SLWM
  • Training and capacity building – 204 such programmes were held in 2019
  • Organising of Swachh Darpan on ODF Plus awareness
  • Covering 1,92,600 toilets in the Swachh Sundar Shauchalaya campaign to beautify toilets during January 2019
  • Involving interns in Swachh Summer Internship


The district also takes pride in:

  • The vegetable garden in the IWSC premises in Patanbuvilai village that uses grey water from the CSC.
  • The solar-powered water heater and electric incinerator that have been installed in the IWSC of Melapudukudi
  • Community toilet linked to biogas plant for power generation in Ottanatham GP
  • Installation of electronic and manual incinerators at various IWSCs
  • Construction of row/line toilets in Sankaralingapuram GP
  • Disabled friendly toilet in Nagalapuram Gram Panchayat
  • Use of solar power in an IMSC and IWSC in Nagalapuram GP
  • CSC in Tiruchendur that is visited by lakhs of devotees during festivals
  • CSC in the commercial area of Padukkapathu GP
  • CSCs at religious and tourist sites
  • CSC of Kilpidagai Kaspa Panchayat that is adopted by the corporate sector
  • Sanitation demonstration park in Vallanadu Panchayat


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