Karnataka’s first rural faecal sludge management (FSM) unit was inaugurated on 4th July 2022 in Rajanakunte Gram Panchayat (GP) of Yelahanka Taluk in Bangalore Urban district. The plant effectively serves 4178 households and a population of 17305 in the North Bangalore Taluk, most of who have single pit toilets.
The FSM unit was inaugurated by Sri Kota Srinivasa Poojari, Minister of Social Welfare, Government of Karnataka, in the presence of President of the Bangalore Development Authority, Sri S. R. Vishwanath, MLA of Yelahanka Constituency, Bangalore Urban District Deputy Commissioner and Zilla Panchayat CEO – Sri Sangappa, ZP Deputy Secretary and SBM-G Nodal Officer, Dr. Nomesh Kumar, GP President – Sriveeranna, Taluk Panchayat Executive Officer Sri Prakash, Panchayat Development Officers Sri Rajesh and Sri Nagaraj, Secretaries, AEE RWS Bangalore North subdivision Sri Purushotham, CDD and Global technology representatives, elected representatives, district SBM-G consultants and the general public.
Having constructed individual household latrines for all families in the rural areas of Bangalore Urban Zilla Panchayat, the district was declared open defecation free (ODF) in 2016. However, owing to lack of space, many of the toilets were of the single pit variety and in the event of getting filled up, the pits needed to be emptied and the excreta disposed, so that the pits could be used again.
To address this, the Rajanakunte GP of Yelahanka Taluk which incidentally was the first in the district to establish a solid waste management unit to scientifically manage waste generated in its jurisdiction, approached India’s first FSM unit constructed in Devanahalli, Bangalore Rural District. The unit had made headlines owing to its effective management of faecal sludge.
After due consultation with officials, district consultants of Bangalore Urban ZP visited the Devanahalli unit to examine the plant and observe the process of treatment of excreta.
Convinced about the benefits of FSM, they informed the Panchayat Development Officer and elected representatives who identified a one-acre plot of land in purview of the Sri Ramanahalli village, with the recommendation of the Yelahanka MLA. Thereafter, the Deputy Commissioner sanctioned the land for the FSM unit, following which the CEO-ZP submitted a proposal to the Rural Drinking Water and Sanitation Department.
A detailed project report was prepared with the technical assistance of the CDD (Consortium for DEWATS Dissemination) Society, and a sum of Rs. 44.40 lakh was sanctioned for the setting up of a 12 KLW capacity FSM plant under SBM-G.
Rajanakunte FSM unit was constructed and handed over by the Global Technology Firm that was selected through a tender process, within the stipulated time and it is being monitored by the RWS Engineer of the Bangalore Urban Division.
Given that there was no provision for the purchase of a sucking machine, a similar machine available in the Bangalore South Taluk is being used temporarily. The GP intends to purchase a new vehicle and engage private operators to help with this.
To enhance awareness about the FSM unit and its operations and to inform people about who to call when their single pits become full, the SBM-G consultants and Panchayat staff have been involved in IEC and interpersonal communication.
Recently, elected representatives and officials from this district and others along with senior officers of the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department visited the FSM unit and expressed their appreciation for the working of the plant. The success of this plant has prompted the district administration to set up 10 other FSM units across the district this year and in this regard, land for 4 plants has been identified and preparation of Detailed Project Reports is in progress.
Inputs: Halesh HV, District Sanitation and Hygiene Consultant, SBM-G Bangalore Urban ZP