NEW DELHI:The next Swachh Survekshan of over 4,300 cities across India is about to begin in a few weeks. While the municipal authorities in many cities are going all-out to ensure they are ranked among the top, the civic bodies in the national capital are apparently deaf to PM Narendra Modi’s entreaties to make ‘Swachh Bharat’ a reality instead of a mere slogan.
Three of the five municipalities in Delhi---East, North and South Delhi Municipal Corporation---were ranked below 200 among more than 400 cities in the 2017 survey. Ironically, all three MCDs are under the BJP.
This time, too, things are hardly looking better as the three MCDs haven’t shown any will to change the state of affairs. A reality check by The Sunday Standard revealed the abysmal state of sanitation and hygiene in all the three municipal zones.
In east zone areas like Trilokpuri and Mayur Vihar Phase 1, streets were littered with garbage and cattle were seen feeding on the waste spilling out of dhalaos. In Mayur Vihar Phase 2, there was no public toilet for women. “There is no facility for women nearby. We have to walk at least 500 meters or use the toilet at the temple, which is mostly locked during daytime,” said Durga Kumari, a grocery seller.
Bhavna Malick, local councillor, said, “I have requested the DDA for more public toilets as the EDMC is penniless. The survey will start from January I am conducting meetings from next week to improve the situation.”
Similar is the case in Trilokpuri. Residents of Chilla village throw garbage in a DDA park. In the area near Riverside Club, people can be seen defecating in the open. “We had made three requests for building toilet complexes. I hope they will speed up the things now but it will take at least a month,” said Trilokpuri councillor Saroj Singh.
In South Delhi, too, solid waste can be seen littered on roads in areas like Vasant Kunj. However, the area has around 350 Community Toilet Complex and 500 urinals, with around 22,000 sanitation workers to maintain them.
SDMC officials claimed to achieve better ranking this time. “Our ranking will definitely be better this year. We have already declared the area under our jurisdiction open defecation free. We have 12 mechanised sweeping trucks working day and night to keep the markets clean,” said Dinesh Ramnani, Additional Director, Department of Environment Management Services.
At Sadar Bazar and Anand Parbat jhuggi jhopri cluster, which comes under the Karol Bagh area of North MCD, people can be seen defecating in the open. “Government officials come and talk about toilets, but the closest one is half a kilometre away. So we just use open areas instead,” said a Ratnesh, a garage mechanic in Sadar Bazar.
Officials admitted that the north zone has been unable to become open defecation free and blame financial crunch as well as the strike of sanitation workers. “Basic awareness about cleanliness is lacking. Wherever people find space, they throw garbage. We are doing our best with the limited resources that we have,” said Deepak Hastir Additional Commissioner, North DMC.