New Delhi: Nestled in the Eastern Himalaya range, Gangtok, also a centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture, is the cleanest city in the country. Over a thousand kilometres away, Raipur, with equally ancient historical roots, is the dirtiest.
This cleanliness classification may not bother many here, but it certainly does affect foreign tourists who come to India looking for a spiritual connect or to witness its thousands-of-years-old history and are put off by the filthy environment. Bothered by the negative feedback from the visitors on cleanliness, the Union tourism ministry decided to go back to them to rate 36 Indian cities. The first ever Cleanliness Index for Cities 2015 report prepared by the ministry has thrown up some startling facts.
Agra, which is currently hard-selling the beauty of Taj Mahal in monsoons, came at number 29 out of the 36 cities rated in the study report submitted to the ministry recently. Delhi fared slightly better, but is still far from satisfactory standards.
It was at number 7, below cities like Panaji (2nd highest score), Silvassa (3rd), Hyderabad (4th), Ahmedabad (5th) and Diu (6th). Chennai was at number 16, Bangalore at 18 and Mumbai at 22.
The Union Tourism Ministry, which spends over `200 crore every year on the publicity and marketing of its 'Incredible India' brand overseas, often finds itself at cross purposes due to negative publicity generated by foreign tourists. Figures explain a lot. In 2007, the Union tourism ministry had fixed a target of getting ten million foreign tourists by 2010. In 2014, India had 7.70 million, the highest number so far in any year.
Along with Raipur, Chhattisgarh's capital, the other four cities which received low scores on the Cleanliness Index are Deoghar (Jharkhand), Haridwar (Uttarakhand), Shillong (Meghalaya) and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
The report has analysed six factors to arrive at these ratings: cleanliness of sewer and drainage, effectiveness of garbage collection, cleanliness of public conveniences, cleanliness around drinking water facilities, cleanliness around eateries, and cleanliness on ambience-related aspects.
The data was collected by the survey team through interviews with tourists, locals and municipal officials, the report says. The marks were then allotted and colour-coding given.
The cities with a score of over 80 were to be put in the green category, with up to 30 categorized as red. Scores between 31 to 60 placed the cities in the black category, while scores between 61 and 80 put cities in the blue category.
Ironically, none of the 36 cities could reach the highest category of being a green city. At an overall level, 17 cities are in the black category and the rest, 19, in blue.
But what appeared as the lowest scoring criteria in all the cities was the cleanliness of public conveniences. It was found to be poor across all cities. None of the cities made it to the blue category when it came to the question of public conveniences.
Out of the 36 cities, four are in the red category and 32 in black. The red cities are Raipur, Tawang, Kavaratti and Agartala. In the black category, most cities have received a cleanliness index of around 50+.
Some cities that were found to have better cleanliness at relatively larger number of public conveniences are Panaji, Guwahati, Mumbai, Port Blair, Tirupati, Panchkula and Shimla, the report added.
The garbage collection and disposal at the city level has limited weightage.
At an overall level, even this parameter is in black category. Two cities-Raipur and Kavaratti-are in the red category on this parameter. While 15 cities are in black category, 19 cities are in blue category. Raipur, Deoghar, Shillong, Haridwar and Agra are the four black and red category cities that received a score of less than 50 on the cleanliness index
Cleanliness around drinking water facilities is also in the black category at an overall level. While Kohima is in red category, 19 cities are in black and the rest in blue category. Of the 19 cities in black category, five cities-Tawang, Raipur, Kohima, Puducherry, Agra, Deoghar and Diu-have received a cleanliness score of less than 50.
Chandigarh, Panaji, Chennai, Hyderabad, Diu and Ahmedabad are some cities that scored better on cleanliness of sewers and drainages.
However, cleanliness around eateries received a reasonably good score at an overall level for 36 cities. On this parameter, eight cities are in the green category, 17 cities are in blue category and the rest 11 in the black category. Gangtok, Silvassa, Kavaratti, Guwahati, Ernakulam, Aizawl, Hyderabad and Tawang are in green category with respect to this parameter with a score ranging from as high as 98 to 82. Gangtok and Silvassa have received scores as high as 98 and 97, respectively.
The ambience around the places visited by the tourists received a better rating with a score of 71. The cities receiving top score on this parameter are Ahmedabad, Diu, Tirupati, Tawang, Panchkula, Gangtok, Panaji, Silvassa and Imphal. The cities that are in the black category on this parameter include Raipur, Puducherry and Haridwar.
On the Clean Scoreboard
Cleanliness Index: Rank and Score