Odisha: Smart City slum in Bapuji Nagar says no to open defecation

Bhubaneswar: Taking the smartness drive to a different level for ensuring inclusive growth, the Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) has successfully made Kalinga Basti under Ward No. 53 Bapuji Nagar as the first open defecation free (ODF) slum in the Smart District.
Last evening Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena took part in a “Gaurav Padyatra’’ (Walk of Pride) inside the ward along with local councillor Mahamaya Swain and BSCL officer on special duty (OSD) Santosh Kumar Mishra, in order to encourage the slum residents and also to inspire other slums to take up the ODF cause and make more and more areas under the Bhubaneswar Town Centre District (BTCD) free from open defecation.
To make the “Gaurav Padyatra’’ (Walk of Pride) more memorable all toilets in the slum were decorated with marigold flower as a mark of celebration as the toilets are also part of the cleanliness campaign across the nation.
Speaking on the occasion, city Mayor said ‘Gaurav Padyatra’ by residents of Kalinga basti would definitely set an example for other slums of Bapuji Nagar area to achieve ODF status. He also urged them to visit nearby slums to spread the awareness.
Under BTCD area of the Smart City Project, around 24 slums are targeted to be made ODF as part of a major initiative by BSCL. It can also be mentioned here that apart from the technological and infrastructure-based development, BSCL is also eyeing at making the BTCD area socially smart and ensuring better health and hygiene of the residents including the slum dwellers. BSCL feels that with better health and environment the future generation would be more healthy and smart.
Officials of Feedback Foundation, who have been assigned for the ODF campaign under the BTCD area, were also part of the “Gaurav Padyatra’’. With an innovative approach like engaging “Nigrani’’ Committees (surveillance squads) the efforts have yielded good results in motivating community leaders. The“ Nigrani’’ Committee of Kalinga Basti in Bapuji Nagar has got mostly women members. It can be noted here that the “Nigrani’’ Committees with women members are creating more impact in convincing people.
Besides, continuous awareness drives, triggering sessions at defecation sites illustrating pitfalls and health issues due to open defecation apart from the everyday morning and evening monitoring sessions by the “Nigrani’’ Committees have started putting a check on open defecation. Many of the unsafe toilets were also made safe by effecting few modifications in construction and channelizing the waste into safety pits instead of open drains.
During the process of the campaign for making the area ODF, citizen groups and individuals have contributed a lot by motivating people and fellow slum dwellers to make the cleanliness dream possible and to make the entire city ODF, gradually.

The first ODF triggering activity in the Kalinga Basti started on April 23, this year wherein the residents were made aware on the issues related to open defecation and the health problems women and children face due to unsafe defecation in the open. The “Nigrani’’ Committee conducted regular door-to-door visits to ensure that every household have their own toilets and convert all unsafe toilets to safe toilets.