KOCHI: With the Centre priming for the upcoming Swachch Survekshan Survey, the civic authorities in the state are fast-tracking the sanitation drive to improve their rankings. A Central team is expected to conduct a field survey of the local bodies, like in the previous years, by this month-end.
All the major Corporations, including those in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode are focusing on the sanitation work to prevent a repeat of their dismal showing last year. None of the cities from the state could make it to the Urban Development Ministry’s top 20 list and the saddest part was they had slipped further in the rankings.
“The focus of the Corporation has now shifted to sanitation works. Though we are facing acute shortage of workers, we are trying our best to ensure cleanliness in the city. Last year the officers had conducted the survey in other areas outside the Corporation limits. But this year we will ensure the inspection takes place in the city itself. We hope to improve the score and the ensuing ranking,” said Soumini Jain, Kochi Mayor.
Thiruvananthapuram city, which was placed 40th(1,167 points) out of the 73 cities surveyed in 2016, was the worst performer with 617 points and a rank of 372 last year. “As per the guidelines issued by the Union Urban Development Ministry, we had done so many works, including building toilets, GPS installation in vehicles and providing waste bins in major areas. As per the guidelines, a centralised waste disposal system needs to be set up to go up in the rankings but we don’t have such a system at present. This may have affected our ranking. However, our focus will be on the city’s comprehensive development,” said Mayor V K Prasanth.
Kollam Mayor V Rajendra Babu was upbeat about the city improving its rankings and emerging as a ‘waste-free city’.“We are in the process of turning the Kollam Corporation into a ‘waste-free city’. The process to set up 32 aerobic waste treatment plants is moving ahead fast. We are hopeful of executing the project by March-end. Besides, efforts to clean up the Ashtamudi Lake is moving in the right direction. There is no doubt Kollam Corporation will improve its ranking in the 2018 survey,” he said.
According to S K Mohan, Health Supervisor, Kozhikode Corporation, the civic body has been smoothening out various issues like waste collection, segregation and transportation in order to improve the city’s position in the Swachh Survekshan 2018 survey. “We have begun managing waste in a centralised and decentralised manner. Non-biodegradable wastes are being treated separately. The Corporation has been already declared as open defecation free. Everyone living within the Corporation limits has toilets. There are sufficient public toilets in the city and new toilet complexes are coming up soon across the city,” he said.
He said, as per Swachch Bharat Abhiyan, every city needs a dustbin every 500 metres. But, it has not been implemented in the city because the Corporation collects waste from every household and institution in the city. “Most of the questions asked in the survey are suitable for North Indian cities. The survey asks whether the rejects from the waste treatment plant are used for landfilling. It is not possible in a thickly populated state like Kerala where the urban-rural divide doesn’t exist. In North India, a lot of barren lands are available. We have limitations here,” he said.
However, the civic bodies are worried about the ranking process, since, from this year the public’s opinion too will be taken into consideration before announcing the rankings. “It is learnt 45 percent of the marks will come from the public survey. We know the public will never appreciate our efforts. If they had visited places like Indore and Bhopal which were ranked first and second in last year’s survey, their impression about the state will change for the better,” said a Corporation chairperson, who requested anonymity.With the launch of the third edition of the ‘Swachh Survekshan Survey’, which will rank 4,041 cities and towns in the country with a revised methodology, the competition is expected to be more intense among the local bodies.
Thiruvananthapuram city, which was placed 40th(1,167 points) out of the 73 cities surveyed in 2016, was the worst performer with 617 points and a rank of 372 last year
The focus of the corporation has now shifted to sanitation works. Though we are facing acute shortage of workers, we are trying our best to ensure cleanliness in the city. Last year the officers had conducted the survey in other areas outside the Corporation limits. But this year, we will ensure the inspection takes place in the city itself. We hope to improve the score and the ensuing ranking
- Soumini Jain, Kochi Mayor