Owing to initiatives taken up by all stakeholders such as Sarpanch, Panchayat Secretary, SHG members, District officials and social workers, Kannur Gram Panchayat (GP) in Kamalapur Mandal (Block) of Warangal Urban District in on its way to becoming ODF Plus.
Located six kilometres from the Mandal headquarters, the GP which is spread over 808 hectares is home to 637 households and a population of 2503 individuals.
Though this GP was declared ODF earlier with all households having individual household latrines to facilitate hygienic practices and soak pits to treat wastewater and recharge groundwater, the GP proactively took steps to attain highest standards of sanitation by giving importance to Solid and Liquid Waste Management and construction of community toilets.
Situation before the Initiative
Earlier, people who attended Gram Sabha meetings or the weekly market and migrant labourers resorted to open defecation in open areas, roadsides or near tanks, canals, or fields. They had no other option, in the absence of sanitation facilities in public spaces. The practice was not only unhygienic, but it also proved to be unsafe for women, children, the elderly and the physically challenged, while posing health risks for the entire community, as also the self-respect of women and adolescent girls.
Need for Construction of Community Toilet
The GP thus identified the need for the construction of a community toilet as sanitation facilities were vital for visitors, migrant labourers, etc. At that point of time, the District Administration sanctioned community toilets to all the Gram Panchayats in Warangal Urban District with its own fund – DMFT.
Then began the challenge to identify land for the construction of a community toilet. It had to be in a central location that was accessible to most of the public or near a public space where large gatherings congregated. After convincing the households that opposed the construction in their vicinity, they had to find masons, plumbers, and other skilled workers. The District Administration stipulated that construction had to be completed within the time frame of 30 days.
The GP then realized that they needed more money than the amount sanctioned to complete the community toilet complex. In this regard, funds from the Gram Panchayat were used to complete the remaining work. Regular maintenance (cleaning of toilets) and ensuring continuous water and power supply was later tackled by the GP officials.
Uniqueness of the initiative
Awareness about using toilets was created, through IEC activities, such as rallies to shape opinion/attitude; wall writings, paintings and Nigrani committees. Elderly residents, women, visitors of the gram panchayat have been delighted with the facility.
Promotion of Solid and Liquid Waste Management, greenery
Both individual soak pits and community soak pits were constructed to treat grey water and enhance the ground water table. Further, under the Haritha Haram programme, 10,000 fruit and flowering plants were distributed to the households to develop kitchen gardens and ensure greenery. Also, a 3-kilometre stretch of avenue plantation was taken up with financial help from Gram Panchayat grants. Kannur GP has a water tanker which is used to water the plantations in and around the village.
To maintain cleanliness and ensure hygiene, door to door garbage collection is being practiced. Source segregation of dry and wet waste is ensured. To ease the process of source segregation, Blue and Green dustbins have been distributed to each household in the village and community dustbins are placed at centrally located places to manage the waste effectively.
As per the instruction of National Green Tribunal (NGT) two dustbins (Green and Blue) to each household; and hand gloves, gum shoes and masks, were purchased and distributed to Gram Panchayat Sanitation workers.
By imposing a ban on the sale and use of plastic covers in the Gram Panchayat, the GP has reduced the use of plastic waste in its premises significantly. Also, plastic waste collection bins are present in the village.
All kitchen and other waste collected from households is moved to the compost yard using cycle rickshaws and a tractor with a trolley. The compost yard with platform was constructed with SBM funds to segregate the waste that is collected.
The Warangal District administration honoured this Gram Panchayat with an incentive award of Rs. 10.00 Lakhs. Kannur GP today is a role model to other Gram panchayats in the field of SBM and Water conservation activities. (B/S)