BHUBANESWAR: In yet another move towards giving women a bigger role in governance, State Government on Friday handed over operation and maintenance (O&M) of four Septage Treatment Plants (SeTPs) to self help groups.
Three women SHGs in Berhampur, Baripada and Sambalpur and one managed by transgenders in Cuttack were given the O&M through a contract agreement between the groups and urban local bodies that was signed on the day. The SHGs will be responsible for day-to-day operation and maintenance of SeTPs which includes managing the entry of all cesspool vehicles for discharging faecal sludge at the plant, regular treatment, minor repairs, upkeep and staff management.
Minister of Housing and Urban Development Pratap Jena said the decision to involve SHGs and transgenders in operating and maintaining SeTPs was taken as women SHGs have been managing community toilets very well. Urban Department Secretary G Mathivathanan said the SHGs were chosen after careful evaluation of their capacities as well as past track-record.
The groups have been trained thoroughly on different aspects of operation and maintenance. Civic bodies concerned will continue to provide hand-holding assistance and technical support to SHGs during the agreement period, he added.
With this, Odisha, a frontrunner in faecal sludge and septage management in the country, has initiated community management of sanitation facilities. With more than 90 additional septage treatment plants coming up in the State by 2021, and over 32,000 SHGs working in 114 urban areas in the state, the community engagement for O&M of sanitation facilities holds enormous potential, Mathivathanan said.