A day long consultation meeting with networks and government officials was held on May 3, 2018 in Bhubaneswar to ensure universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene for all vulnerable and marginal persons and groups such as transgender persons and those living with disabilities and to develop a community-centric vision and a comprehensive understanding of the needs and entitlements of marginal communities, recognizing the barriers and challenges they face. More than 100 participants joined the consultation to discuss various issues of stigma and exclusion.
In this consultation, the officials mandated specific recommendation for a synergized solution addressing the needs of the vulnerable as expressed by strong community voices.
Mr. Saroj Sahoo-engineer, BMC, committed to incorporate suggestions/feedback of the community prior to installation of any facilities and service provision like water ATM/Water kiosk. He also committed to re-installation of water ATM points in locations easily accessible to the community.
Mr. Subhransu Mishra, Dy Commissioner, NZ, BMC ensured that BMC would extend all possible support towards enumerating and bringing together the VMPGs and integrate them under various available schemes and provisions. He committed for installation of five water Kiosk facilities especially for the TG community in various parts of the city. He further stated that, application submitted through the mini Single Window “PARIBARTAN” will be fast tracked and the issues would be resolved immediately not only for the VMPGs but also for their families.
Mr. Madhausmita Nayak, Deputy Secretary SSEPD, handed over a tri-cycle to the Mr. K. Behera, one of disabled persons and expressed full support to the community and also suggested other departments to come forward and support the VMPGs.
Voices from the Ground:
Ms. Surati Moharana, Maa Mangal Basti, highlighted the challenge of accessing water ATM facility even though she has a water ATM card. She said, “Though we have the provision of collecting 10 liters of drinking water per day using the water ATM card, we hardly use the facility as the water ATM point is half a kilometer away from home and it is nearly impossible to carry water from such a distance every day.”
Mx. Neha Kinnar and Mx. Menaka, Vanivihar Basti, requested officials to provide for toilet facility and water connection in the settlement with storage facility.
Mr. Sukanta Behera, a person with disability demanded for “disabled friendly housing, water and sanitation facilities.”
Mx. Meera Parida and Mx. Sadhana said, “Paribartan has given us confidence to scale up the mini single window in all the 30 districts of Odisha to integrate the VMPGs into various available service and provisions.” The officials supported the mandate.
The consultation was an important event as it not only brought the VMPGs and the officials in one common platform but it created an enabling environment to discuss various concerns of the marginalized communities and also to decide a common consensus for mainstreaming the excluded communities.