The impetus to Swachh Bharat Mission, which the state government is busy promoting by ‘sweeping’ roads, has gone down the drain at the state capital in a brief spell of rain on Saturday.
Rain and thunderstorm left many parts of the capital city inundated with muck, filth and slush, even as pedestrians made their way through the dirty lanes filled with drainage and garbage.
Trash could be seen floating on roads at many places while several choked drains overflew at spots like Lansdowne Chowk, Gandhi Road and Premnagar.
“Besides showing the civic body’s seriousness towards cleanliness, the event also exposed its preparedness for the upcoming monsoons,” said Mahesh Bhandari, the president of Doon Resident Welfare Front. The front is an umbrella body of the city’s resident welfare associations.
Mayor Vinod Chamoli, who is also an MLA now, belongs to the ruling BJP. The office of the Dehradun Municipal Corporation, tasked with taking care of garbage disposal and cleaning of choked drains, is barely a minute’s drive from Lansdowne Chowk and so is the BJP’s city office.
When contacted, Chamoli said this time, the civic body will be better prepared to tackle the monsoon.
“We (the civic body) and our (BJP) government are both very serious about cleanliness and are taking many steps for garbage disposal, which will begin showing results on ground very soon...
“As for choked drains, we have started cleaning them in a phase-wise manner and should be able to complete the work before the monsoon arrives,” Chamoli said.
The Congress, however, alleged that the BJP has reduced the Swachh Bharat Mission into a “publicity stunt”.
Last month, all the 10 ministers of the BJP government spent over an hour with brooms in their hands across nine locations of the hill state as a part of a special cleanliness drive. Last week, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat wielded brooms in Uttarkashi and Pithoragarh.
The Congress termed the cleanliness drive by ministers as “nothing more than photo-op”.
“What can be a more shocking example than Dehradun? Even a brief spell of shower was enough to show how the BJP - which leads both the state government and the Doon civic body - is more interested in photo-ops than doing actual work on the ground, ” Congress state unit chief spokesperson MD Joshi said.
Notably, Dehradun was one of the poorest performers in terms of cleanliness, finishing at the 61st spot among 73 cities studied by the Centre in last year’s ‘Swachh Survekshan’.