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A role model in more ways than one
The Hindu - 31 May 2018

Besides bagging the ODF tag, this village stands out in solid waste management as well

The 'katcha' road along the dry fields lead to the SC Colony inhabited by 300 families. Most of them live on incomes from small farm lands on which chilli, cotton, and black gram are cultivated.

Even as winds of change began blowing in the village, the colony has remained underdeveloped. The only muddy road leading to the colony remains under water during monsoon and not a single house has a toilet.

ITC initiative

Though the meagre farm income has been sustaining them, constructing toilets on the black cotton soil is an uphill task as each unit costs about Rs. 25,000.

In this backdrop, the ITC Ltd. has partnered with a local NGO - Socio Economic Alternatives Research and Resource Community for Humanity (SEARCH) - to build Individual Household Latrines (IHHL).

Under the ITC's Mission Sunehra Kal (MSK), a viable project model has been conceived, under which each beneficiary contributes Rs.2,000, and is offered a supporting loan of Rs.8,000 and a grant of Rs.15,000 under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

The model has take off, and now each household has a toilet and a wash room built within standard design.

"Our village has been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF). With corporate support, we have been able to overcome the issue of scarcity of funds. Each toilet has been constructed on pillars as black cotton soil does not have the strength," sarpanch M. Madhava Murali, alias Vasu, told The Hindu on Wednesday.

Change for the better

Having a toilet has turned out to be the beginning of a transformation in the lives of the villagers.

"Thanks to the toilet facility, we need not venture into the fields at night. Initially, we were worried over the high cost. But with the support of NGOs, we have been able to afford it. I have been motivating people on the methods of using, cleaning, and keeping it dry," said Vijayamma, a local teacher.

The village has also become a role model in following the best solid waste management practices, as the household waste from 1,040 units is segregated into 'dry; and 'wet'. Five sanitary workers, called 'green ambassadors', have been engaged for door-to-door collection of the waste, which is segregated and treated in a vermi-compost unit. Each family pays Rs.30 per month for the service.

"We are proud to be partners in making the rural areas clean. We are also implementing similar sustainable models under the Rural Solid Waste Management at Nandigama and Nadendla in Sattenapalli mandal," said project manager, ITC MSK, Gowri Naidu.