BHUBANESWAR: The city civic body has launched Project Samman to improve sanitation and standard of living in slums. Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) launched the ambitious plan a few days ago.
BMC has tied up with two voluntary organizations to develop a sustainable improved sanitation model for urban slums. After its successful implementation, Project Samman would be extended to Cuttack in the next phase, sources said.
Though the civic body is implementing a host of slum welfare projects, the latest project is specifically aimed at keeping the slums clean and hygienic. The project will benefit around 60,000 people in Bhubaneswar, sources said. The city has 377 slums in all, including the 99 authorized ones.
"The high point of Project Samman is that it would reduce open defecation. Toilets would be built based on architectural innovations," said BMC mayor A N Jena. "We will also build additional utilities such as space for bathing, washing clothes and facilities to manage menstrual waste," Jena said. Sources said Rs 4.46 crore would be spent for establishment of toilets under the scheme.
So far, a total of 107 community toilet sites have been identified and surveyed. Similarly, 21 public sites have been identified for construction of toilets. Capacity planning and layouts for 20 sites have been submitted to the engineering team for review, sources said.
Construction work of toilets in public sites is slated to begin by mid-December 2012 and complete by mid-April 2013. Toilets in community sites are likely to be ready for operation by mid-July 2013.
Uncertainty looms large over timely completion of the project due to inordinate delay in identification of land. "We are facing problem in getting required land due to some technical reasons," Jena said. "At places, where we have land, we cannot meet the required standard of provision of water and sewerage facilities due to space constraint," he added.
The BMC is at present working on the Centre-sponsored Rajiv Awas Yojna (RAY), which envisages provision of concrete houses and other basic urban facilities to slum dwellers so that the city becomes slum-free. Government would build pucca houses, roads, drinking water connection, public and individual toilets, community schools and bus shelters.
The RAY project, however, is facing stiff resistance from residents in Saliasahi and Rangamatia slums. The slum dwellers slums are up in arms against the government's decision to construct concrete houses by demolishing their shanties. Apprehending eviction from the places where they had been staying since long, hundreds of slum dwellers of Saliasahi recently staged demonstration at the Lower PMG Square here demanding scrapping of the project. Similarly, BMC has temporarily put on hold the RAY project at Rangamatia in view of the opposition by locals.
"Both RAY and Samman projects have been designed for the welfare of the slum dwellers. We are trying to convince the slum residents of Saliasahi and Rangamatia for successful implementation of RAY," the mayor said.