Himachal Pradesh was the second State in the country after Sikkim, to be declared open defecation free (ODF) on 28th October 2016. The northern State that is frequented by tourists from around the world is now working towards becoming ODF Plus which includes sustaining ODF status, effective management of solid and liquid waste and construction of community sanitary complexes (CSCs) in public spaces where many people gather and for the floating population, so that no one is left behind.
According to official data, the State receives 170 million domestic tourists every year and over a hundred million foreign tourists annually. Owing to such a large influx, ODF sustainability and management of waste is a challenge, and hence was taken up on priority basis by the Rural Development Department.
During a meeting to review the progress under the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) on 23rd June 2020 and chaired by the Director of Rural Development, it was decided that CSCs should be constructed to cater to migrant labourers, tourists, pilgrims, passers-by and passengers on the national highways.
The Director emphasised the need for developing guidelines for the construction of CSCs under SBM-G in a campaign mode.
The main features of the guidelines are as follows. They would of course depend on the availability of land.
- Land will be made available by the Gram Panchayat; and the identified land should be either in the name of the GP or the Rural Development Department.
- CSCs should be constructed on need basis. Priority would be given to villages of GPs situated near the national or state highways, tourist and religious places and semi urban areas.
- Each CSC will consist of separate toilets for men and women, a shelter during rain or cyclone, a shop for selling Self Help Group (SHG) products, accommodation for a SHG member and a Swachhata Café.
As far as the funding pattern is concerned, the cost will be borne by funds from SBM-G, 15th Finance Commission (PR Department) and MGNREGA as follows:
- SBM-G – Rs. 2,10,000
- 15th FC – Rs. 90,000
- MGNREGA – Rs. 2,00,000 (A separate activity will be included in the shelf under SLWM component as per operational guidelines of MGNREGA).
To ensure uniformity, the Executive Engineer of the Rural Development State Headquarters prepared a standard drawing and design, providing estimates for the CSCS, taking into consideration the features and the cost of CSCs.
Operation and Maintenance: The CSCs should be run and maintained by the GP or handed over to the local SHG, Mahila Mandal or Yuvak Mandal for O&M after agreeing into a proper agreement. User fees may be charged, and the GP is free to adopt a business model or a PPP model to run the CSCs.