Berhampur: The Berhampur Municipal Corporation in Ganjam district has helped seven women sanitation workers become entrepreneurs by giving them loan benefits to buy sewer tank-cleaning machines.
The Ministry of Housing Affairs said Berhampur became the first urban local body in the country to give loan benefits to women under the Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers Scheme, which provides financial benefits to sanitation workers for their rehabilitation in alternative occupations.
"In doing so they have transformed 7 Women Safaimitras into 'Berhampur Swacchta Bahini' Entrepreneurs, who now own sewer/septic tank cleaning machines," the ministry tweeted on Wednesday.
The Odisha Housing and Urban Development Department congratulated the corporation for making the seven women entrepreneurs.
It said the group of women, called the 'Berhampur Swachhata Bahini', would own, operate and manage the cleaning machines for liquid waste management in the city, 168 km south of Bhubaneswar.
The loan benefits were facilitated in collaboration with the National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation. These women sanitation workers also belong to different Mission Shakti self-help groups, the department said.
Berhampur Sub-Collector Keerthi Vasan said the "life- changing initiative" of the civic body for women sanitation workers would "pave way for many more to get inspired and follow this model".