Balasore: Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi and the North Odisha Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Balasore, co-organised the seminar on sanitation in Balasore town titled “Sahajogita: : Building Partnerships for Swachh Balasore” on 1st April, 2016, the day of Utkal Divas. The seminar was organised at the NOCCi Business Park in Bampada, Balasore. The main focus of the seminar was on the scope of building partnerships between the industrial bodies, NGOs and government institutions to deliver sanitation services to achieve Swachh Bharat Mission targets.
The seminar was attended by members of NOCCi, officials from the district administration, pollution control board and municipality. As Chief Guest, Mr Rabindra Kumar Jena, Member of Parliament, Balasore emphasised the need for improvement in sanitation infrastructure in Balasore town and promised his support for sanitation projects to be taken up with support from NOCCi. Mr Devashish Mahanti, President of NOCCi also spoke highly of the need to foster partnerships between government institutions and private industries. Ms Madhu Krishna from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation attended the seminar and spoke about the viability of fecal sludge management as an ideal substitute for sewerage system in Balasore which has high percentage of on-site systems. Mr Alok Kumar Sahu, Chairman of Balasore Municipality spoke of on-going initiatives of the Municipality. Other speakers included the representative from State Pollution Control Board and District Urban Development Authority. Mr Shubhagato Dasgupta, Director of the sanitation programme at the Centre for Policy Research outlined sanitation challenges, and stated that up to 50% of toilet waste flows untreated into rivers and water bodies. He briefly discussed the research work done in Balasore by the Centre for Policy Research, which was followed by presentations on GIS mapping and institutional studies carried out by CPR.
There was a panel discussion on the state of services delivery in Balasore. The panel comprised Mr Subhasa Chandra Jena, Executive Officer of Balasore Municipality; Mr Ak Chatterjee, Balasore, Odisha State Pollution Control Board; Mrs Charubala Rath, Assistant District Medical Officer and Mr Ashok Ku. Mohapatra, Sub-division Engineer, PHEO Balasore.
The second technical session focused on building partnerships for a Swachh Balasore by exploring ways in which the vibrant private sector can engage with the district and city administration to focus some efforts towards building a totally sanitised, liveable and healthy Balasore. It started with a presentation by Mr Shubhagato Dasgupta on SBM-Urban and PPP. The panel discussion consisted of Dr A.K. Sannigrahi, Additional Director, PXE, DRDO; Dr Surjendu Dey, Prof. Environmental Science, FMU; Mr B.K.Tripathy, Deputy Director, District Planning and Monitoring Unit, Balasore and Mr Ubachak Mohanty of May I Help You.
The seminar was concluded with a general consensus on the urgent need to improve sanitation infrastructure in Balasore town by fostering public private partnerships and channelizing Corporate Social Responsibility Funds of industries and government funds to attain the targets of Swachh Bharat Mission and AMRUT City. With positive feedback and words of encouragement from all the participating stakeholders there was a collective realization of the imminent need for sensitization of citizens followed by implementation of projects in a coordinated manner.