Shubhankar Mohanty

Sanitation Changemaker

Wading Through Community Grievances

In 2019, Mr. Subhankar Mohanty assumed the role of the Deputy Commissioner of Sambalpur Municipal Corporation in Odisha. He came into this role with great zeal and enthusiasm, eager to gain a deeper understanding of its challenges and implement impactful and innovative solutions. Since then, Mr. Mohanty has not only been able to bring in efficient governance, he has also ensured that the most vulnerable of his city’s service providers are prioritized. Before Subhankar’s appointment, the Corporation faced multiple administrative changes, placing significant responsibility on his shoulders. When he came in, he saw that sanitation emerged as a priority for the Sambalpur Municipal Corporation, presenting unique challenges in service quality and worker safety. As the Nodal Officer for sanitation, he took charge of the Corporation's daily operations, overseeing sanitation activities, grievance management, tax collection, and COVID-related duties. This helped him understand the local challenges in the sector better which helped him bring in effective solutions.

With a citizen-first approach, he introduced a monitoring mechanism allowing citizens to message their grievances to the Municipal Corporation via WhatsApp, revolutionizing accessibility for the citizens and ensuring that governance bodies have better visibility of the problem areas. Harnessing the power of social media, he addressed citizens' concerns promptly, showcasing his commitment to efficient governance.

As the next step, Subhankar also took proactive measures to ensure sanitation worker safety during the pandemic. He organized regular training sessions on occupational hazards for the workers and provided safety kits to sanitation workers. Collaborating with Self-Help Groups (SHGs), he initiated awareness campaigns on waste management, emphasizing community involvement and leading by example.

"Sanitation and cleanliness are among the humblest of civic virtues, and it is easy to underestimate their significance," emphasized Mr. Mohanty, recognizing the fundamental role of sanitation in community well-being.

Looking ahead, Subhankar envisions continuing his service to Sambalpur, tackling sanitation challenges with innovative ideas. His approach, rooted in citizen participation, sets a precedent for other cities to follow.