Thiru Kesavan is the Executive Officer of Karunguzhi Town Panchayat in Tamil Nadu where, through government-led initiatives, the first Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant (FSTP) of the state has been functioning since 2017. It has been quite beneficial to the people living in the town and also the neighbouring Municipality.   

"Out of 3,200 households, about 2,500 households have septic tanks, and community toilets have been built through the Swachh Bharat initiative", said Mr. Kesavan.

Mr. Kesavan highlighted that the citizens are also supportive and responsive to the sanitation initiatives. They have even been involved in the World Toilet Day celebrations for the past three years. “We are thankful to the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) and the state Government of Tamil Nadu for supporting us”, said Mr. Kesavan.

LEADERSHIP THAT ENSURED SAFE SANITATION IN THE PANDEMIC  


At the onset of COVID-19, in the initial days of the lockdown, Karunguzhi’s sanitation-driven work was affected for about half a month. After attaining all the special permissions, the town Panchayat, under the leadership of Mr. Kesavan, was able to carry out the maintenance work in the city during the lockdown period. In order to safeguard the sanitation workers, safety kits were provided to them.

During the pandemic, a few challenges for Mr. Kesavan’s team were maintaining social distancing and following safety protocols in public places. The Town Panchayat was in touch with the citizens through WhatsApp groups to consistently share information on health and resources from the government. Conducting contests for children and families helped in creating awareness about sanitation. Effective usage of Social Media played a crucial role in conveying the work it did and simultaneously also catch the state government’s attention for financial support to the Town Panchayat to improve sanitation-related initiatives with the support of IIHS.


National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management Alliance

The National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management Alliance is a collaborative body, convened in 2016 and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, working with governments and decision-makers across the country at national, state and city levels to drive safe and sustainable urban sanitation in India.

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