The inception workshop for decentralised Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) project in the Savda Ghevra locality of Delhi was held on February 10 at Delhi. The day long workshop set out to achieve the following key objectives:
- To setup a multi stakeholder dialogue platform and bring together key officials from the government departments, project partners and key members from the community
- To develop clear understanding of the existing sanitation situation and challenges being faced by low-income urban resettlement communities in Delhi with regard to management of sanitation in general and faecal sludge in particular and seek a viable solution
- To create the road ahead for respective roles and responsibilities for key stakeholders
The workshop was attended by over 40 participants including Mr. Keshav Chandra (IAS) – Chief Executive Officer, Delhi Jal Board (DJB), Mr S K Mahajan – Chief Engineer, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), and Mr Gopal Rai- Superintendent Engineer, Drainage, DJB. Participants also included people from Savda Ghevra community who shared their views and expectations from the project.
WaterAid India is implementing the project in partnership with International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE). The project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Through the project WaterAid aims to demonstrate a small-scale pilot of a viable and sustainable decentralised FSM solution in an urban low-income re-settlement colony in Delhi. In future, the proposed project intends to provide technical advisory support to Delhi Government to facilitate adoption of such practices in similar low-income high –density settlements in Delhi. Savda Ghevra is located in north-west of Delhi in Najafgarh Zone and the project is expected to impact the lives of over 20,000 people directly.
Mr. Alok Sikka, IWMI representative reflected over the need for demonstration of a decentralised FSM and sanitation solution in Delhi. In his speech, he emphasised the need to respond to the sanitation challenges being faced by over half of Delhi’s population who are unserved by the existing sewerage system. He mentioned how this project will exhibit innovative solutions and sustainable models in India and the world.
Mr. Keshav Chandra mentioned that only 19 per cent households in the city have access to sewage system and 81 per cent remain unserved and unconnected and about half ( 45-50%) of Delhi is unserved due to several challenges like growth of population, insufficient land availability among others. He added that the existing septic tanks are not built scientifically and need standardisation. Mr. S K Mahajan talked about the concerns being faced by urban poor, low-income and slum communities in relation to sanitation. He described the challenges being faced by DUSIB in providing access to sanitation and managing waste for over 700 slum communities in Delhi. He emphasised “it is need of the time to demonstrate a decentralised model for the self-sustainability of the communities”.
VK Madhavan, Chief Executive of WaterAid India highlighted that the project would demonstrate suitable alternatives that can meet the needs of the urban poor while being aligned with the long-term objectives of the government in sanitation.
Mr S K Mahajan emphasised that the technology for the sewerage system must be designed in a way that it can retrofit with sewer system to be developed by DUSIB or DJB in future.