Amul takes hygiene a step forward

At Anand, the dairy cooperative movement’s birthplace, no one will defecate in the open. RAHUL KUMAR, Amul Dairy’s managing director, told BHARAT LAL SETH about an initiative to build toilets

By Bharat Lal Seth
Published: Wednesday 15 September 2010

Rahul Kumar, Amul Dairy’s managing directorOn the genesis of the scheme

Our target is to ensure not a single milk producer in Anand and Khera districts of Gujarat defecates in the open. This is the region where the milk movement began in 1946, where we strive to improve the quality of the milk chain— from keeping cow udders clean to transporting milk.

Lately, we started thinking about personal hygiene of milk producers. After conducting a survey, we found more than half of the cooperative members, a large majority below poverty line (BPL), did not have access to sanitation. We knew that the government-led Total Sanitation Campaign routes a subsidy through district rural development agencies.

For constructing a toilet, BPL families are given Rs 2,200, while others can claim a subsidy of Rs 1,250. We designed a simple 3x3 feet toilet that can last 15-18 years.

On Amul's involvement

First, we intend to help construct 5,000 toilets. We have decided against the community model as no one assumes responsibility for their maintenance. According to estimates, each toilet would cost Rs 6,000. Not many families can raise the remaining money after deducting the subsidy amount. So we will provide an interest-free loan with a monthly instalment of Rs 100. The beneficiary must, however, raise Rs 700 to demo - nstrate genuine interest. We plan to scale up from 5,000 completed units by this November to 100,000 families over the course of the next 18 months.

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