Amidst various programs intended under Government’s “Swatch Bharat Abhiyan”, prominent is the construction of toilets in order to ensure sanitation facilities in rural areas, with the broader goal to eradicate the practice of open defecation. The KISS study revealed that many of the villages in the vicinity did not have toilet facilities and in fact, only 2% population in this region used toilets.
This study further identified the cause of absence of toilets not as poverty but the mindset and ignorance of the people towards water and sanitation aspects. These findings and a response to the call by the PM of India set the foundation stone for the formulation of “Swabhiman” project.
Swabhiman projects aims at covering the immediate five surrounding villages of Tata Sponge and reaching out over twelve hundred families, of which 87% belong to ST/ SC communities; and make them open defecation free(ODF) villages by 2020. The project model includes a household toilet, bathroom and community water supply facilities. To facilitate in this mega project, Tata Sponge has forged partnership with a credible NGO named Gram Vikas and District RWSS wing.
The company began with a plan to construct 1150 toilets cum bathrooms and have so far constructed 362 units while the work at different village is at various stages of progress.
As developed under the project Jal Dhara, the “Jala O Parimala Samiti’ of respective villages have been given the additional responsibilities of maintaining these toilets. Each impacted family has contributed Rs. 1000/- towards building corpus fund for future maintenance of the project
Exposure visit and series of awareness camps are being organized for the villagers in order to bring about an attitudinal change towards health and sanitation.
Smt. Anjali Khuntia President of Kaliabeda “Jala O Parimala Samiti” had to say this, “this is our true Swabhiman” project, which ensures our safety and self-respect with the provision of toilet and bathroom for each women in the village. Moreover, through the Jal Dhara project, we could get water round the clock at our home.”