- Senapati is the first manipur district to be declared open defecation free
- 31,461 toilets were built to give 100% toilet coverage to Senapati
- The overall rural sanitation coverage of Manipur is 80%
Mumbai: Manipur, located in a lush green corner of North East India, has finally opened its account in the open defecation free process (ODF). With 100 per cent toilet coverage in Senapati district, the state can now remove its name from the list of states with no single district with the ODF title. The district, home to 2.86 lakh people, was declared ODF by Manipur Pubic Health Engineering (PHE) Minister, Losii Dikho at a grand function held on March 27.
Confirming the news to NDTV, Athem Muivah, Deputy Commissioner, Senapati administration says, “After undergoing all the steps of verification process, the certificate of ODF was sanctioned by the Quality Council of India.”
— Swachh Bharat I #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav (@swachhbharat) March 28, 2018
Highlighting the fact that Manipur is an oval shaped valley and the district is a hilly region, Mr Muivah says,
The entire ODF process was not an easy job. We had to cross several hurdles before providing every single household with toilet access.
Outlining one of the major problems of toilet construction he adds,
To transport toilet construction materials in areas with practically no roads was a daunting task for the Swachh Bharat workers. In addition to that, people were not willing to shell out money for toilets despite being well-aware of the disbursement policy under the Swachh Bharat Mission.
The district overcame both the issues with a common solution of having twin-pit toilets. Residents were asked to invest a nominal amount in twin-pit toilets. These types of toilets basically comprise two alternating pits connected to a pour flush toilet. It collects grey water which slowly infiltrates into the surrounding soil. Over time, the solids are sufficiently dewatered and can be manually removed with a shovel. It is economically viable as the cost of water and connection of toilet with sewage pipeline is saved.
After conducting awareness sessions on building these toilets, many residents preferred using their own money in getting the twin-pit structure instead of opting for government subsidy, “Since people have used their own money, a sense of ownership is generated which acts as a security against open defecation. We have done a good job despite hurdles,” says Mr Athem.
In 2014, of the total 4,26,625 households in the district, 31,461 households were deprived of toilets access. Every year, the district has been ahead of the original target set. For instance as against the target of 4,400 toilets in 2014-15, the district administration constructed 6,099 toilets. The other two fiscal years yielded similar results.
Talking about sustaining the ODF tag Mr Athem says,
The reason why Senapati took a while to attain the ODF tag is because we first wanted every individual to get on board and vow that they would never defecate in open after getting a toilet. Hygiene and cleanliness is much more important than having a toilet. We ran numerous awareness campaigns first, post which the ODF journey commenced. We hope we have driven home the sanitation message.
Manipur’s Overall Sanitation Report
With construction of 1.66 lakh toilets, the overall rural sanitation coverage of Manipur is 80 per cent. While districts like Bishnupur, Thoubal, Imphal East and Churachandpur have sanitation coverage above 80 per cent, there are districts in the state like Ukhrul and Chandel whose toilet coverage is less than 60 per cent even after three years of the cleanliness mission. As for the urban area of the state, 20 cities have been declared free from open defecation.