Everything is glaringly visible along roadsides in the Uttarakhand capital but cleanliness on the eve of the Swachh Bharat Mission’s first anniversary, residents said on Thursday.
They feel the political hype with which the mission was launched exactly a year ago with brooms in the politicians’ hands has been a failure as the garbage disposal mechanism here continues to be in a shambles due to waste workers’ strike, collection vehicles’ frequent breakdowns, a lack of resources and people’s showing little civic sense in garbage disposal.
Result: There have been regular pile-ups of waste in the city round the year. The garbage was more visible in the city on Thursday as around 292 waste collectors, who are involved in the door-to-door collection of garbage in the city, struck work after five of them were attacked and injured by a mob in the Kargi area on Tuesday. They are demanding arrest of the attackers and security while they’re at work.
One of the residents summed it all up in a pithy one liner: “Swachh mission, what rubbish!”
Doon Residents’ Welfare Front president Mahesh Bhandari blamed the Dehradun Municipal Corporation’s (DMC) said, “The strike is unfortunate but what’s even sadder is that the civic body does not have any strong backup plan to save the day in such contingency situations.” The front is an umbrella organisation of 60 resident welfare associations in the city.
In June, too, door-to-door garbage collection in all the 60 wards of the city was hit for several days due to waste workers’ strike over non-fulfillment of their demands following repeated tiffs with the DMC administration.
Bhupendra Singh Kathait, corporator of ward Hathibarkala, rued that Swachh Bharat Mission had become more of a photo-op for politicians and bureaucrats in Dehradun.”Politicians irrespective of their parties and officials continued to use the mission as publicity-seeking opportunities for themselves, further dealing a blow to the campaign’s true spirit,” he said.
However, city mayor Vinod Chamoli said, “Keeping the city clean is not the civic body’s responsibility alone. While the state government should support us more strongly, even the general public needs to come forward to keep their surroundings clean.”