Gonda wears the weary appearance of a town that appears to have given up.
Mounds of garbage are piled up on either side of narrow streets that residents say haven’t been swept in days. Driver of autos or other public transport have to swerve around the muck and local administration is practically absent.
This eastern Uttar Pradesh town that is home to more than two million people is also India’s dirtiest city, according to a government survey released on Thursday.
Gonda was ranked 434th and fared poorly on all parameters -- waste collection, solid-waste management, construction of toilets, sanitation strategies and behaviour change communication.
“The ranking is no surprise for us. Last year in another state level survey Gonda had performed poorly,” said a local resident.
Officials blame the performance on poor resources and manpower. “There is no permanent head of the municipality. Lack of cleaning staff and poor management on part of those responsible is the reason why Gonda scored very poor in the ratings declared,” said Triloki Singh, additional district magistrate.
“Vacant posts need to be filled to set accountability.”
The low ranking appears to have stirred the state government into action and senior officials of the district have been summoned to explain the reasons behind the rankings.
But on the ground, the sanitation situations is worsening by the day. Commuting is difficult as garbage heaps are common and there is a permanent stench in the air. Be it Subash Nagar or Mawatian, almost all localities have a big problem of garbage disposal.
“You don’t find anyone sweeping garbage. Even if done, removal of garbage happens once in two or three days,” said Rakesh Kumar, a local resident who has complained several times, but to no avail.
“Now days they don’t even record complaint. The only answer is shortage of manpower,” he said.