Under the USAID-sponsored Water and Sanitation for Urban Poor Advisory, Visakhapatnam will be made a model city so that other cities learn from its experience and emulate its achievements, WSUP Country Director Akhilesh Gautam said.
As a part of an MoU between the Indian and the U.S. governments, USAID through WSUP is rolling out assistance for efficient Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).
The support is being delivered at the national and State-level to the Ministries of Urban Development and at the project management unit level.
Visakhapatnam is the only city in the country to have been selected for city-level support under knowledge partnership through WSUP.
How Visakhapatnam distinguishes itself and what value addition WSUP brings in terms of SBM, not just achieving the end of ODF but the means to achieve it, is important, he said.
“Our job is to be in the city, innovate and understand SBM at ground zero perspective and develop concepts, products, tools, knowledge and strategies that can be potentially useful for other cities,” Mr. Gautam told The Hindu .
A lot of work done in the GVMC has been referred to as lead practices in Government of India documents, he said.
“Our work is impacting Vizag but much more important is, Vizag is impacting at the national-level,” he said.
Something unique in the city is the ward-to-ward approach conceptualised by WSUP to achieve and sustain ODF primarily driving it at ward-level.
Ward-level committees comprising various stake-holders are the most functional tier to achieve ODF and an institutional support to sustain it. The committees are closely associated with the 74th Constitutional Amendment.
It is important not only to arrest ODF but also take care of septic tanks in terms of full sanitation chain. The ward-level committees have to work out and plan on how the septic tanks are being emptied and see to it that vacuum tankers discharge at safe disposal sites. “Nine designated points have been identified by GVMC and we are helping faecal sludge management,” he says.
He admits that there still might be houses without toilets and they have access to public toilets within 500 metres.
“We are identifying routes of commuters so that information, communication and education campaign can be started for them,” says Mr. Gautam, adding that the task is still unfinished.