Situation analysis, O d i s h a U r b a n S a n i t a t i o n S t r a t e g y

The Situation Analysis of sanitation arrangements in urban areas of Odisha was carried out in November 2009 and the key issues were discussed in a state level workshop at Bhubaneswar in January 2010. The Situation Analysis highlights the following issues that need to be addressed by the Odisha Urban Sanitation Strategy:

Need to have adequate baseline information: especially comprehensive information about the full cycle of sanitation (viz. from household arrangements to collection to disposal/treatment);
Need to ensure access to sanitation for the un-served, urban poor and non-resident/floating households and populations:
About 40% urban households do not have access to toilets, and another 11% have to share toilets. The situation in the slums and squatter settlements is worse.
Socially disadvantaged groups (SC/ST households) have poorer access levels – 67% of SC and 73% of the ST households do not have access to toilets.

In 2001, 23% of urban Odisha resided in slums (Census), a similar proportion being reported by the State of Environment report (2004) also. Only 32% of the slums are notified (NSSO, 2010) and 40% of the population residing in slums report no access to latrines;

The stagnation in urban household sanitation coverage over the 2001-2008 period amidst reports of increasing urbanisation, is a challenge;
Public Toilets exist in urban areas and are accessed by a substantial number of users but the number of seats is inadequate especially in locations with high seasonal and floating populations viz. tourist/religious sites);
Operations of Public Toilets in urban centres (mostly outsourced to NGO/private agencies by ULBs for management) present a mixed picture, with some beset by problems of inadequate water supply and not catering to local user needs (like early morning hours for labour population);
More than 16 million tourists visit Odisha (AC Nielsen ORG-MARG, ref. period 2005-2006), comprising of 3.6 million domestic overnight visitors, and 12.6 million day tourists. A significant proportion of the domestic overnight visitors seek accommodation units and about 70% of them come for leisure and holiday. Toilet facilities and environment were reasons for dissatisfaction of about 18% of the tourists.
Need to build capacities within ULBs and other line agencies for participatory city-wide sanitation management, through the support of specialized agencies (state-level) and community level organizations:
About 26% of the urban population is resident in the three Municipal Corporations, 50% live in the 37 Municipalities and 24% are in the 63 Notified Area Committees.
Only two of the Municipal Corporations had reported sewerage provisions and only 8% of human excreta generated in urban Odisha is treated by any formal sewage treatment system (CPCB, 2009);
On-site sanitation systems (septic tanks, pit latrines) predominate in urban areas but current practices point deficiencies in construction, lack of proper sludge disposal/treatment facilities and also sometimes problems with access to septic tank/pits;
ULBs are also constrained by inadequate personal and systemic capacities for social mobilization and implementing user-participatory programs;
ULBs which are statutorily responsible for providing public health and sanitation services to the households, suffer from constraints of adequate technical knowledge, staff shortage for coverage and enforcement, technical and financial problems that hinder correction of identified infrastructural or management solutions;
The financial position of ULBs indicates an overt dependence on government (state and central) grants and scheme pass-through. This constrains the ULB in developing internal capacities for planning and management as current fund sources do not have provisions for that;
In matters of personnel systems at the ULBs, Odisha follows a mixed system in which the higher officials at the technical and administrative levels (on-deputation) are drawn from the State Government from different cadres, the middle level functionaries are appointed by the State Government and are transferable to other units and the lower level staff are borne on the ULB only. This leads to a system in which cadre specializations do not match management

requirements at ULB. The need for the formation of a dedicated cadre for Municipal management has been articulated earlier. Also, the need for creating facilities for building capacities of urban managers and the support cadre is also a felt need.

Need to clarify the roles and responsibilities and possible opportunities of different stakeholders - institutions, citizenry, private enterprise - in sanitation provision and maintenance along with service delivery norms:
Community participation is reportedly low in the implementation of programs that have sanitation components (household or public facilities).
Solid Waste management, after the passage of the Municipal Solid Waste Handling Act and Rules, occupies primary focus in ULBs, but suffers from lack of adequate community involvement and constraints with respect to safe disposal.
Existing Municipal laws provide for punitive action against house/building owner in case of letting out waste impacting local environment. However, punitive action recommended is not a major deterrent and seldom enforced. Also, clarity on provisions to be made in places frequented by public (eating places, shopping areas) need to be detailed in the bye-laws of the ULBs. Even with the necessary legal provisions, city managers find enforceability a problem.
There are a few NGOs that have built social mobilisation and technical expertise in sanitation through work in the rural domain and some have started to work in the urban domain;
The presence of significant number of service latrines (2002) and subsequent tightening of the ban on manual scavenging, indicate the presence of significant numbers of personnel who require rehabilitation. Also, current work practices within ULBs in septage management including disposal point to the need for significant improvements to ensure workplace safety and dignity of labour. Safai Karmacharis continue to be a vulnerable group in the whole chain of sanitation management. Their working conditions, safety needs, health hazards have not received adequate attention;
School sanitation could provide a key entry point for initiating and sustaining behaviour change amongst the urban population. Curriculum improvements and hygiene education utilizing successful experiences of the on-going programs (like SSA) need to be thought of, as also dovetailing these into the National School Sanitation Initiative launched by the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India.
Need to provide directions on setting standards relating to sanitation technologies (at household/community level), and wastewater disposal methods for different settlement characteristics anticipated across the state:
Even while 47% of the urban households report access to improved sanitation facilities, comprehensive city-wide data and information on safe confinement and safe disposal is lacking and empirical evidence points to significant deficiencies in safe management of faecal waste and public health risks thereof in urban areas;
Technology options have been limited and financial sustainability unclear considering the ULB financial situation. Directions are needed on provision of technical knowledge with respect to sanitation technology options and wastewater disposal methods along with easily comprehensible evaluation methods that incorporate risk factors like natural disasters;

There is poor awareness amongst households, institutions and city managers of the implications of poor sanitation and its inherent linkages with public health. Departmental divides have further limited movement towards establishing this linkage. Directions on awareness-creation and providing information about the full cycle of sanitation (household confinement, collection and safe treatment/disposal) are needed;

Directions on raising awareness amongst public and institutional stakeholders at all levels, triggering behaviour change and sustaining this;
Use of this information as input for planning and implementation of sanitation plans
Current investments in sanitation are done in a piece-meal manner and have proven never-ending. The need for an integrated city-wide approach aimed at successful outcome needs to be highlighted;
Designating nodal agency at state/regional levels that regulate, direct and support the ULB initiatives in sanitation with adequate human and capital resources;
Clarity of processes that would help sustaining positive sanitation outcomes.
Odisha has been frequented by natural disasters, especially cyclonic storms. Sanitation solutions need to be ideally matched with the risk profile of the area, and suitable guidelines must be framed for any emergency response.
A uniform strategy is required that retains enough flexibility to accommodate local situations anticipated in different parts of urban Odisha, while providing adequate guidance to the development stakeholders including ULBs, NGOs and other support actors.
O d i s h a U r b a n S a n i t a t i o n S t r a t e g y