Citizen’s First Campaign on Drinking Water and Sanitation Accountability

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Where there is a will there is a way – ODF free slum in Hyderabad

In a slum if there are some group of houses sharing a toilet then people who don’t have access will definitely be willing to get access to toilets” If they are not getting access then definitely financial status will be the reason for not being into the group of household with toilets. If we want to make these people get access to toilets and avoid open defecation then what can be the possibilities to do it without constructing a new one., considering the fact of land contrarieties in urban areas, especially in slums.

How can we do it? Can it be done? If can be done, In what way? Is community toilet a solution for safe sanitation? Answering these questions there is a small case in Kavadiguda slum, Hyderabad in which privately owned toilets are shared between different houses. It is a case study which defines the potential and role of the community to get access to safe sanitation facilities.

Suraj Nagar is a basthi located in Kavadiguda cluster of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) in Hyderabad city, Telangana. This basthi mostly have people who are dependent on daily wage for their living. Suraj Nagar Basthi has thirty six houses (36) with one hundred and twenty (120) population with an average household size of four. The slum is about 30 years old. Majority of the slum dwellers are involved in daily labor with their average monthly income ranging from 5000- 10,000 (INR). Majority of slum HHs are observed to be Kutcha or semi-pucca.

Current scenario of Sanitation

In Suraj nagar basthi open defecation was a common phenomenon initially. As the development around the slum happened, due to lack of privacy for open defecation three households pooled money to construct a private toilet in the year 1991 i.e. 25 years back .All the three household shared responsibility of its maintenance along with the construction cost. Same model of private shared toilet was replicated by few more HHs in the slum year 2011.These six toilets constructed were shared by 18 houses. Each of the unit was constructed by shared funds within three houses. Each toilet have a bathing unit and one squat toilet. In total seven individual toilets are shared between twenty one houses out of total 36 houses. Around 15 houses still do not have access to toilets and are compiled to open defecate. In addition to this there are about 6 to 7 physically challenged people residing in the slum. it is still a challenge for them to use these toilets.


Figure 1 Colony view


Figure 1 Colony view

Ms. Lakshamma is a seventy year old women living in Suraj nagar basthi is not allowed to use the toilets as she did not share the capital cost nor share the responsibility of cleaning. The reason for not having access to toilets is because of financial conditions and people who own toilets don’t let them use because they don’t contribute in maintaining toilets.

Incidences of quarrels in the slum was experienced by the slum dwellers in the past where, the privately shared toilet owners allowed other Hhs (who don’t have their own toilet) to their toilets. But they ended up in disputes on maintenance of the toilets, as the frequency of maintenances increase with increase in user numbers. Thus, since then the Owners of privately owned shared toilets did not allow the members of the Hhs without toilet to use.

Many of the households who don’t have access to toilets are composed of old women, female, physically challenged and also children. GHMC has decided to build a community toilet for this basthi. But is community toilet really a solution, as this will start an issue of maintenance due to lack of ownership and usage is also questionable, considering the fact of existence of shared toilets. In contrast to this, the new community toilet can also become a threat to existing community cohesion w,r,t to shared toilet understanding.

Basthi Vikas Manch has put their efforts in analyzing the gaps and needs of people and deciding on a solution which is with community consensus. There was no coordination and understanding between GHMC and slum people in addressing the issues of open defecation. BVM mediated in between them to identify and decide a solution which is viable for both parties. After series of meetings internally with in community it is decided that the community toilet which is constructed by GHMC will be used as shared toilets between. A consensus agreement of users of shared toilets was prepared and submitted to GHMC.

GHMC with the help of BVM has constructed community toilets for Suraj Nagar Basthi to improve sanitary conditions within the locality.


Figure 3 Community toilet constructed in Suraj Nagar slum

Where there is a will there is a way

Even though there were huge indifferences between government and slum dwellers the solution was identified with mutual interest. There is need for proper understanding between urban administration and people. In this case BVM cleared indifferences between the parties for betterment of the one. BVM created bridge on the gap with the help of series of meetings with both government and people. There is need for efforts to motivate community can be streamlined by the intervention of NGOs, Municipal Corporation and other agencies.

What is School Sanitation?

When we ask “Why toilets are dirty?” we draw its source to many dissimilar and interrelated toilet issues, , access to water, behavior, public health, social graciousness, cleaning skills and methods, building maintenance, accessibility, technologies, public education and including design. These issues are common in measuring efficiency of any toilets working condition. Regular and proper maintenance is essential for a better toilet environment. So let’s see an example of complete school toilet which is not used due to some reasons.

In Balamrai Primary and High school there are around 400 students in both primary and secondary classes. Toilets here are in very bad condition and there are 180 girl’s student 200 boys students. There are toilets four toilets and 4 urinals built with basic necessities such as flushes, water and other requirements. But when we entered toilets it’s very pathetic to see stinking and urinated on floor.

Does basic requirements such as flushes and water are meant to be in working conditions?

School management gets fund around 3000/- per month to clean school premises. So why toilets are left unused if there are funds for maintenance.


Figure 1 Flushes exists but still clogging

Is just having following facilities such as flushes, urinals slabs, tiles , pipes in a toilet makes toilet in

working conditions-


Figure 2 Slabs


Figure 3 Flushes


Figure 4 Pipes

Need for maintenance , monitoring and funds

School or community toilets it’s important that there is day-to-day management of designated personal who cleans the toilets. In this school there is a person allocated to clean toilets but they are not regularly cleaning and there is another issue of clogging which are most frequent phenomena in any toilets which leads toilet to bad condition.


One of the most common — and worst — maintenance problems with toilets in schools and community as well is the potential for a clog. In this school there is similar problem which is again created due to lack of maintenance. A lot of stuff goes down your toilet when you flush, and that stuff can clog the pipes. One way to help prevent clogs is to not flush anything down the toilet that shouldn’t be. So this can be relooked when there is proper O and M model over just having ideal toilet. School committee and teachers must ensure that there is an effective cleaning and maintenance system in place that ensures that facilities are clean, functional and available at all times.

BVM has initiated a model for sixteen schools in Secunderabad mandal where a person comes every day to schools for regular cleaning using machine. Let’s wait and see what can be achieved by efforts Basthi Vikas Manch (Slum development platform) is putting to clean toilets across the city.


Figure 5 Urinals in GHS Balamrai School


Figure 6 Girls toilet in the school


Name: Kranthi Kumar
Age: 12, 6th Standard
Address: Anna nagar, Balamrai school.
City: Hyderabad
Kranthi Kumar is student in Balamrai school


Kranthi says

“I urinate outside school premises as these toilets are in very bad condition. I have no option rather doing this. School toilets are not clean but flushes are working. Toilets are not cleaned daily and urine gets clogged in the urinals so we sometimes urinate on the floor”

Kranthi has made a very important point stating that if urinal was clean he would have used it. So here having just a urinal and flush is not enough but there is need for proper operational mechanism which regularly maintains toilets.

Name: Mani
Designation: Headmaster
Age: 40
Address: Balamrai GHS School , Begumpet
City: Hyderabad

Miss Mani has a point to make –

“It’s very difficult to get persons who can clean toilets regularly. Government allocates 2500/- for cleaning toilets. But who cleans them regularly? Every day we have to go out of school and look for any sanitary worker from Secunderabad cantonment board that daily clean roads. So there is a need to create a model where bunch of schools in same area can be allotted to specific personnel.”