To form community groups for maintenance of public toilets

Tiruchi Corporation would take up a campaign to eradicate open defecation in the city by 2015 with the help of local community groups.

The civic body has planned to rope in members of women’s self-help groups (SHGs) to form community groups for maintenance of public toilets and to raise awareness of sanitation in all the 65 wards in the city as part of the initiative.

Corporation Commissioner V.P.Thandapani on Saturday convened a meeting with SHGs operating in the city to discuss the modalities and also to seek their cooperation in making the campaign a success.

Speaking to The Hindu after the meeting, Mr.Thandapani said the corporation was planning to involve local communities in maintenance of the 390 community toilets across the city. Though public toilet complexes have been provided in the required place, many of them are not used and are often prone to being vandalised or misused.

The corporation was planning to form groups of the local communities for each of the toilets and involve them in maintaining the facilities. The groups would also persuade residents in the respective areas to use the toilets and avoid open defecation. He pointed out about 75 toilets in the city were already being maintained by such groups through the initiative of a voluntary organisation. The model is to be replicated in the entire city.

The corporation would assign about 200 employees to form the community groups for each toilets and the exercise is expected to be completed in the next two to three weeks, he said.

Earlier, at the meeting with SHGs, Mr.Thandapani said that although the corporation engaged in improving sanitation in the city, people were found to defecating in open places in some parts of the city. Already about 400 community development and neighbourhood committees have been formed to sensitise people to the importance of sanitation. Steps were also afoot to raise the living standards of the group members through vocational training programmes and credit support, and their involvement in various civic works such as maintenance of parks and garbage collection.

Members of SHGs should play an active role in forming community groups and extend their cooperation to the corporation initiative, he said.

S.Raja Mohamed, City Engineer, R.Chandran and S.Arunachalam, Executive Engineers, and N.Rajeswari, City Health Officer (in-charge), participated.