Hailing from the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, as a child, Ms. Valluri Kranthi dreamt of becoming an IAS officer. After graduating from IIT Delhi with a Mechanical Engineering degree, she was able to fulfil this dream in 2016. She joined the prestigious workforce as a Special Officer with her first posting in Mahbubnagar. Four years later, in 2020, she was posted as the Municipal Commissioner of Karimnagar.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

The fourth-largest city in the state of Telangana, Karimnagar was chosen for developmental programs namely, AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) and Smart City. Earlier, the city had no proper sewerage system. However, in the year 2007, under the UIDSSMT (Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small & Medium Towns) scheme launched by the Government of India with a budget of INR 76.5 Crore, plans for a proper sewerage system were beginning to form while keeping in mind the estimated population of 2036.

Currently, Karimnagar is dependent on on-site sanitation systems. It has one STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) with a capacity of 38 MLD (million litres per day). This plant is equipped to co-treat faecal sludge as well. The city follows a well-planned, systematic, institutionalised septage management mechanism to collect the septage from the septic tanks and other faecal matter from public toilets as well as from unconnected households.

To further the efforts of the department, a comprehensive City Level Sanitation Plan (CSP) was also developed in 2016. Some of the initiatives taken thereafter—

  • Training & Empanelment

The private septic tank cleaning operators that were functioning within the city were trained adequately and empanelled into the ULBs (Urban Local Bodies). Their training included tips on hygiene and were provided with clear instructions to dispose of the septage into the STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) only. The community, masons and engineers were trained on construction, detailing and proper use of toilets and their maintenance. Various methods of mechanised cleaning of sewers and septic tanks were implemented and sanitation workers were trained for the same.

  • Awareness Campaign 

The desludging vehicles were painted with Safai Mitra branding. ID Cards were issued for the sanitation workers.

  • Operation & Maintenance

For the operations and maintenance of public toilets, the Karimnagar Municipal Corporation had identified active women groups and entered into a formal contract with them. After this initiative was implemented, the public toilets have been maintained properly and there has been an increase in their usage. In addition, an Auto DCR (Development Control Regulation) process for the building approval system has been implemented whereby toilet designs shall be uploaded and reviewed as per IS code 2470.   

 

LEADERSHIP THAT ENSURED SAFE SANITATION IN THE PANDEMIC

The onset of Covid-19 put the world in an unprecedented situation. The unsung heroes of this new world are the sanitation workers who work hard and long hours.

“Keeping sanitation workers safe was one of our priorities, and the Karimnagar Municipal corporation took all the necessary steps in order to achieve this”, highlighted Ms. Kranthi. All the 1300 sanitation workers who worked for the department were provided with PPE kits and raincoats. The importance of proper usage of these kits was communicated to the workers. The Karimnagar Municipal Corporation received support from the state government in conducting health checkups for the sanitation workers. As a token of gratitude, and as a recognition for their good work during the pandemic, special financial incentives were provided to each sanitation worker as well.

Under the leadership of Ms. Kranthi, the Karimnagar Municipal Corporation has spearheaded an Information, Education & Communication (IEC) campaign, which was delivered through media channels such as newspapers, social media platforms, paintings, posters, and writings on the wall. This IEC campaign has been implemented throughout the city and has been a great tool in educating the citizens about faecal sludge and septage management. Door-to-door campaigning was also done in order to create awareness about scheduled desludging and safe cleaning of septic tanks.

Taking another step towards achieving the goals set up by Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge, the Karimnagar Municipal Corporation, under the leadership of Ms. Kranthi, has put a 24x7 helpline portal in place and a WhatsApp number, for citizens to register queries/complaints and also to book desludging services. The portal also tracks the status of the complaints registered and has an option for citizens to provide feedback for the requests/complaints registered.

Going Forward

 

 

The city is well-positioned to achieve city-wide inclusive sanitation and is implementing several initiatives to support the financially marginalised communities. It is also establishing a dedicated cell with clear budgetary allocation to plan, implement and monitor integrated sanitation programs.


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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