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Ward high on hygiene

A resident of ward No.15 stands in front of newly constructed toilet. Picture by Uttam Kumar Pal

Rourkela: The civic body on Friday declared the Telugu Para in ward No. 15 as an open defecation free zone.

"This has become possible because of our sustained effort in bringing in qualitative changes in the lifestyle of residents of the slums," said Rourkela Municipal Corporation commissioner Rashmita Panda, who is also the smart city CEO.

He said: "We have divided the entire wards into five clusters and identified 27 such slums under 12 wards. We are going to approach these areas on systematic basis. This particular area that has gained the open defecation free tag belongs to the D cluster," she said.

Such initiative is going on in seven more slums. "We are going to focus in a phased manner," said Panda.

The smart city CEO said: "We identified one community leader, who helped us in changing the mindset of those staying there. She is a girl, who helped us in achieving this as a leader and is using her own toilet."

The civic body-constructed community toilets "will be maintained by the people there and they will also motivate others in the nearby areas about stopping open defecation".

Panda said: "Space to construct individual toilet is one of the biggest constraints, for which the corporation is constructing community toilets. We have built 50 community and 50 public toilets at this moment at different places."

"There is no condition attached to it, but people have started showing interest in the initiative. On previous occasions, residents had taken money from the government to construct toilets, but this did not yield any results. This time, they will have to construct the toilet first and then the amount will be reimbursed."

"We have planned to make all the slums open defecation free by February 19 next," said the CEO.

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