The Swachh Bharat survey - 2017, which evaluates the cleanliness of cities, will start in Gurgaon from Wednesday. Although the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) has undertaken several last minute measures to spruce up the city and change public perception, there are several drawbacks that can affect the city’s rankings.
On Thursday, a team of the Union ministry of urban development will review municipal documentations and evaluate the projects completed by the civic body in terms of population density. They will also review waste, sanitation and recycling facilities.
Some of the projects discussed by the MCG include strategies for open defecation and integrated solid waste management, door-to-door waste collection, sweeping, collection and transportation of waste, and public, community and individual toilet provisions. MCG officials will submit their reports on the same to be reviewed by the ministry officials.
Consequently, the team will undertake a spot survey of the projects and incorporate public feedback.
In 2016, the city ranked 36 out of 73 cities with a population of over 10 lakh surveyed. However, the 2016 survey did not incorporate public feedback. In the 2015 survey, which included public feedback, Gurgaon ranked 466 out of 476 cities.
In a meeting on December 16, held with MCG officials, residents’ welfare associations, commercial institutions and sanitation associations, MCG commissioner TL Satyaprakash directed civic officials and the public to work in tandem to improve the city’s cleanliness ranking in the upcoming survey.
However, projects such as the revival of the city’s only waste management plant at Bandhwari that has been lying defunct since June 2013 and the establishment of a construction and waste plant are awaited. Besides, the city has only 39 public toilets for a population of over 10 lakh people.
As the survey gives 30% weightage to public opinion and 25% to on the spot survey by the ministry, the incomplete projects may not help the civic body in changing public perception.
Bandhwari waste plant
Although the MCG plans to revive the Bandhwari waste plant by setting up a waste-to-energy plant, the defunct facility, which has been turned into a landfill, is a matter of concern for the environment, according to activists. The continued dumping of waste at the plant has led to a pool of dirty water or leachate accumulating in the adjoining Aravalli forest, polluting the aquifers around. Thereby, groundwater of Gurgaon and Faridabad is being contaminated, environmentalists say.
The plant, which is capable of handling 600 tonnes of garbage per day receives nearly 1,500 tonnes every day.
The MCG’s plan to build the city’s first construction and demolition (C&D) waste plant moved a step closer as it received clearance from the state government.
But, the project has been in limbo for the last three years owing to the delay in settling on a site. The plant had been conceptualised in an effort to end the unorganised dumping of construction debris and establish an efficient process to recycle waste.
The city currently generates over 300 to 400 tonnes of C&D waste per day. The amount dumped increases by 15% annually owing to the rise in urbanisation and infrastructure projects.
As per citizens’ feedback on the city’s sanitation infrastructure in the 2015 survey, 91% of respondents were dissatisfied with the availability of basic infrastructure at public toilets. Only 11% people felt that the city was always clean. As much as 13% of residents felt they had access to toilets within 500 metres. Public and community toilet provisions were rated 85 out of 150.
Much has not changed in the last two years. Gurgaon still has only 39 public toilets for a population of nearly 10 lakh. The MCG had identified spots for construction of 133 public toilets and 26 community toilets. However, only 14 public toilets have been constructed in the city last year and 44 are still under construction.