Dust-free smooth roads lined with plants, no stinking garbage dumps, and sanitation workers wearing crisp clean uniforms—it was all too much for Delhi which had made peace with its caved-in roads, bad infrastructure and corrupt babus. But the Commonwealth Games helped people realise that transforming the city into an international city is not a gargantuan task.
While the civic agencies did their bit to keep the city spic-and-span, Delhiites helped maintain it. The Games were a test not only for the government to deliver but for the people to maintain it. Instances of littering, spitting, urinating in public places, and defacement of walls came down and that too without a deterrent. No fines were imposed. Sanitation workers, infamous for their absenteeism, were seen throughout the day keeping the city’s roads clean.
To ensure the city stays as clean as was seen during Games, the MCD commissioner has instructed all the senior MCD officials to conduct regular field inspections. “Their visits will be regularly monitored and critically analysed with the concerned officers. I have already issued instructions that they must report their observations and recommendations to me,” said MCD commissioner, KS Mehra.
Delhiites, too, are happy with the city’s transformation. “Our area had donned a completely new look for the Games. The roads and the streets were so clean we had to think twice before littering. Sanitation workers whom we had not seen in years were busy scrubbing the roads. Naturally, we also pitched in,” said VK Arora, a Krishna Nagar resident.
Apart from cleaning the roads and lifting garbage, it was for the first time that even the roads were washed to reduce the dust. “Whenever you have an exam you put in your best. That is exactly what the MCD did. The fact that our efforts were recognised increased the workers’ morale to work harder,” said a senior MCD official.
When the private parties entrusted with the job of cleaning and maintaining the Games Village and other venues failed to deliver, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) took charge. It took just 4,000 MCD and NDMC workers to bring order to the chaos at the Games Village as well as the other venues. “If 350-odd workers could clean the Games Village in three days, surely 48,000 sanitation workers of MCD can take care of the city. It is just about taking the initiative,” said Sunil Ganguly, a CR Park resident.
“The conventional belief that only the private sector can deliver was proved wrong. The Games gave an opportunity to all levels of workers starting from the additional commissioners to the class IV employees,” added the official.