Dilip Mohanty

Sanitation Changemaker

Decentralized Development

Dilip Kumar Mohanty, currently serving as the Executive Officer in Jatni Municipality, Khurda district, Odisha, embarked on his government service journey in 1989. His remarkable career spans over three decades, marked by challenging assignments which required him to think innovatively keeping the local context and the communities at the center of all solutions he implemented. One of his most prominent posting being the one in Paradip Municipality, Odisha, where he played a crucial role in transforming the way Paradip managed its waste.

Dilip held the position of the Executive Officer in Paradip from September 2015 to September 2020. During this time, the town was plagued by pollution driven by lack of disposal and treatment systems in place. Paradip had a diverse population which included daily wage earners and migrant workers who did not have access to optimal sanitation and hygiene services. Mohanty identified this challenge as an opportunity to transform Paradip into a cleaner and greener city. He initiated a Door to Door (D2D) garbage collection and segregation program. This program adopted a decentralized approach in collection and segregation allowing communities to have more control over their health and environment. As always with citizen-driven solutions, Dilip faced strong reluctance from the people of Paradip. To combat the same, he engaged the entire municipal workforce to raise awareness and drive behavioral change among the town's residents.

Aiming to carry his learnings into safer sewage handling, Mohanty adopted a decentralized approach to educating citizens, creating a chain system where municipal officials motivated sanitation workers and ward officers, who, in turn, engaged with the local populace. This holistic and multi-stakeholder approach ensured a more effective outreach, which in turn, enabled better impact.

Dilip was also a pioneer in implementing the state’s 'Mo Khata' initiative which addressed solid waste segregation and disposal, pioneering sustainable waste management techniques that significantly reduced the burden on landfills. This project's success extended beyond Paradip, earning recognition from the Chief Minister and attracting Executive Officers and sanitation teams from 113 other Urban Local Bodies for learning.

Dilip is a strong believer and endorser of community involvement and believes that the most effective solutions ensure community driven implementation. With this philosophy at the epicenter, Dilip trusts and recognizes the efficiency embedded in work by self-help groups (SHGs). The 'Mo Khata' project is now managed by women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) under Mission Shakti, with support from the Urban Management Centre (UMC), a member of the NFSSM Alliance. These SHGs, comprised of waste pickers and transgender individuals, operate and maintain the facilities. The project's success has prompted its expansion to other concerned departments, creating outlets that sell organic manure to support the Municipality's finances.

Transferred to Jatni Municipality in September 2020, Mohanty continued his exceptional work. Mohanty's future goals include integrating sanitation development into interconnected drain systems, optimizing Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) operations, establishing smart parks, and creating model water bodies in Jatni.