Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of toilets are being coordinated by Ward Sanitation Committees (WSC), selected by the community. WSC comprises of selected Community Managers i.e. President, Secretary and Treasurer who are given comprehensive O&M training by the Project Sammaan team prior to initial facility handover. WSCs look after the overall maintenance of toilets i.e. cleanliness & hygiene, small repairs, provisioning of cleaning materials, etc.
Each WSC also enters into a direct Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with their respective Municipal Corporation. The MoU clearly mentions the division of roles and responsibilities between the Municipal Corporation and Ward Sanitation Committee. BMC/CMC is responsible for major structural repairs. A Caretaker is appointed to look after the facility during its operational hours, while an Attendant is appointed to do actual cleaning.
The users are required to pay service fees to avail of the facilities in the toilet. Apart from user fees, the respective Municipal Corporations also provide gap funding based on the number of seats in the toilets to make the O&M process efficient and sustainable. The fees and other donations are deposited in designated bank account of WSC, who withdraw the money to meet expenses of the toilet O&M, staff salary, etc. All transactions, procurements, community decisions, etc. are unanimously made and recorded appropriately. To begin with, each facility was provided with a set of complimentary cleaning materials, uniforms, collaterals, and stationeries.
Post opening of the facility, Project Sammaan team visits the facility twice in the first week of toilet launch, to monitor the facility management and provide hand-holding training to the Caretaker. The Caretaker is trained on cleaning protocol and cash management again, so that his confidence and capacity to manage the facility gets fortified. Subsequently, audits are conducted periodically (by Project Sammaan team) to ensure quality O&M.
Facility audits are conducted every fortnight by Project team to ascertain that the facilities are operating at their desired level of efficiency. Community Managers and Caretaker are present at the facility during the time of audit. The team inspects the physical condition of the facility, cleanliness and hygiene, staff performance and research activities undertaken in the toilet site. The team also reviews the records, i.e. Resolution Register (records all toilet-related decisions of WSC/community), Stock Register (records in-flow/out-flow of cleaning material).
Financial audits are conducted once every month, to verify the financial records and prevent financial misappropriation. During an audit, the Project team scrutinizes proper collection of user fees, the timely deposit of excess cash in bank and maintenance of Cash Book (records all financial transactions), Payment/Receipt vouchers, all bills, and other supportive documents.
Grievance Redressal mechanism is a critical component of O&M process. As part of this, Operational Helpdesks have been established at Bhubaneswar and Cuttack Municipal Corporations for effective and timely redressal of complaints related to the functioning of Project Sammaan community toilets. The complaint redressal system of the project is proposed to be integrated into the existing grievance redressal system of the Municipal Corporations (“My City My Pride” for Bhubaneswar and “e-Municipality” for Cuttack. In Cuttack, the integration has been completed but in Bhubaneswar, it is in progress. Complaints can be registered by users through multiple source points, both online and offline. Toll-free telephone number, grievance redressal portal, grievance redressal forms available at Municipal Corporations or complaint register available at each facility are the different sources for registration of complaints by users.
Complaints are categorized into three types: engineering, non-engineering and others and accordingly routed to the appropriate authority for early redressal of complaints. If the Officer is not able to redress the complaint within the stipulated time, the complaint automatically gets escalated to the next level. On redressal, the complaint is closed and the same is intimated to the complainant through an automatic SMS alert (in case he/she shares the mobile number during complaint registration). Status of complaints redressed can also be seen by logging into the respective grievance redressal portals.
To ensure that the complaints are addressed in the stipulated time and toilets function effectively, one Operations Helpdesk Officer each has been posted in both Municipal Corporations, for Project Sammaan. He is the first point of contact for the citizens on any complaint regarding Project Sammaan community toilet facilities. He records and maintains logs for complaints regarding the toilet facilities and follows up with the relevant officer for timely resolution of complaints.