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Sulabh to launch sanitation university for health, hygiene studies


New Delhi : Taking his initiative to promote environmental sanitation, non-conventional sources of energy and human rights a step ahead, Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International, is planning to set up a sanitation university on the outskirts of Delhi.

To come up in the next five years, the Sulabh Sanitation Deemed University will be an institute that will impart education in cleanliness – environmental, health and societal.

“The Sulabh Sanitation university will be along the lines of the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health in Kolkata. The aim of this initiative is to impart education about environmental cleanliness, waste management and social reforms to society,” Pathak told IANS on the sidelines of a press conference by Sulabh International on human scavengers.

“We will offer post-graduate programmes and those who have done their graduation in science will be eligible to apply. We will make sure the degree that we give will be internationally recognised,” he added.

A Padma Vibhushan recipient, Pathak is well known for his innovative use of biogas by linking Sulabh toilets to fermentation plants that he had designed over three decades ago and which have now become the byword in the world of sanitation.

Pathak’s rehabilitation programme has helped 36 women scavengers leave their life of humiliation, fetching him much acclaim. Plans are now on to rehabilitate all human scavengers in India, whose numbers touch 600,000, according to Pathak.

How these women’s lives changed – from being illiterate, scavengers and termed as untouchables, to being able to sign their names, selling home-made pickles, fashion accessories and getting absorbed in mainstream life – over a period of just four years, is a story that will be part of the case studies taught in the university.

“We have already acquired land in Gurgaon for the university. Funds are being worked out and it should not take us more than five years to set it up,” Pathak said.