Bhubaneswar, Tuesday, 21 September 2021: The Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi under its initiative ‘Scaling City Institutions for India: Water and Sanitation initiative’ is pleased to announce the signing of a Letter of Understanding (LoU) with the Housing & Urban Development Department (HUDD), Government of Odisha (GoO), PR & DW, Odisha and UNICEF on 21 September, 2021.
Through this unique partnership, SCI-FI initiative will support the Urban –Rural convergence on Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) and Plastic Waste Management (PWM) in Odisha to ensure Swachha Odisha and Swastha Odisha. This initiative aims to formalize the efforts to ensure district-wide sanitation by demonstrating the urban-rural convergence of FSSM and PWM services in seven identified districts- Angul, Balasore, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Khurda, Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur and further mainstreaming across the state.
During the signing, Pratap Jena, Hon’ble Minister, PR&DW & H&UDD, Odisha said that this initiative would contribute towards fulfilling Hon’ble CM’s vision of Swachh Odisha and Sustha Odisha. He said that Odisha has emerged as a champion in managing faecal sludge and plastic waste in 114 ULBs, with this endeavour it will strive to serve the rural population by linking them to urban facilities like FSTPs and MRF for faecal sludge and plastic waste management. He further reiterated that this initiative will strengthen both Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies to provide efficient services to the citizens of the district through a district wide sanitation approach.
G. Mathi Vathanan, Principal Secretary, H&UDD, Odisha highlighted the uniqueness of the model of urban rural convergence and said that Odisha is a pioneer state in management of faecal sludge and plastic waste. He said that Odisha’s efforts in these areas are getting recognition and accolades. This unique initiative will be able to promote good health of citizens by combating pollution of water bodies and land. He reiterated that this novel initiative will begin with a select districts and subsequently it will be up-scaled state wide covering 32 districts within a year.
Speaking on the partnership, Ashok Kumar Kaluram Meena, Principal Secretary, PR&DW Department said that policy making has to be at state level. Breaking artificial divide of urban and rural governance through convergence is crucial for improving FSM within the state. Urban-rural convergence will aim to achieve ODF sustainability in the State. Odisha has taken various innovative models in transforming sanitation landscape and this initiative is another novel initiative as it will serve rural areas by connecting it with urban facilities. He added that the Department has already notified Odisha Rural Sanitation Policy in 2020 which underscores adoption of safe and scientific management of solid waste with a special focus on plastic waste and liquid waste management.
Suresh Chandra Mahapatra, Chief Secretary, Odisha, delivered the Keynote Address. He said that Odisha has Odisha has made progress on FSM in urban areas through its interventions. Within the last five years, women and transgender groups have been mobilized in managing FSM operations. To sustain these efforts district wide through concerted efforts on FSM and PWM, this partnership would be crucial. This initiative will be operationalized in the first phase in 7 districts (Angul, Balasore, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Khurda, Mayurbhanj, and Sambalpur) through collaborations with 43 urban local bodies.
Monika Nielsen, Chief Field Officer, UNICEF Odisha said that this is a scalable model. Convergence will attempt to promote cleanliness in villages. UNICEF Odisha team is happy to be part of this journey to scale up this initiative.
Yamini Aiyar, President and Chief Executive, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi expressed that inter department convergence has been part of debates from 90s, however with this unique partnership between urban and rural departments will be pivotal in improving sanitation through a district-wide approach. It will also serve as a lessons for such collaborations for future. She added that state level policies and implementation efforts that break artificial divide between urban and rural governance are crucial for improving sanitation for all.
Sangramjit Nayak, Director, District Administration & Mission Director, H&UDD thanked dignitaries including representatives from 43 ULBs present for the event and assured full support by the state Government to the districts, ULBs and PRIs on this path breaking initiative which will be the first such initiative in the country.
This event was attended by nearly 90 participants. There was representation from Housing and Urban Development Department, Odisha, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Department, Odisha, UNICEF Odisha, Centre for Policy Research, District Collectors and ULB officials from all seven districts selected for operationalizing the partnership.
A short presentation made at the event is available from here.