SAIL provides round-the-clock water and sanitation units to five villages in Odisha under its CSR project

Access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation are any citizen’s rights. However, a bulk of India’s villages is still miles away from accessing these basic amenities. Against this backdrop, the Rourkela plant of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) hand-picked five villages in Odisha for a project to ensure round-the-clock water supply and safe sanitation system.

The villages are Chutiatola, Dumerjore, Ushra Colony, Baniguni and Jagdishpur.

Under the first phase, sanitation units comprising a toilet and a bathroom were built in every household; the toilets, bathing rooms as well as kitchens were provided 24-hour piped water. The water was sourced from borewells and stored in overhead tanks.

The project involved direct participation of the village communities. The villagers were engaged in the construction work and a corpus fund has been built for maintaining the assets.

The villagers shared the cost of the sanitation units; out of the total cost of Rs.17,000 for each unit, SAIL contributed Rs.9,000 and the balance Rs.7,000 was borne by the villagers. Further, for sustainable operation of the system, a village executive Committee has been established. The project was implemented with the help of a non-profit body, Gram Vikas.

The project has benefitted the womenfolk most. While they now do not have to trudge long distances in search of water, they have also regained dignity with each households having a sanitation unit, said a company spokesperson.

The Rourkela plant authorities are now mobilising people in 12 other villages in the region to replicate the model in the project’s second phase.