High drama was witnessed on the last day of the Indore Municipal Corporation’s general session on Thursday as the opposition Congress and the ruling BJP exchanged war of words over the alleged high-handedness by civic officials during Swachhta Abhiyan.
The Leader of Opposition in the IMC, Fauziya Sheikh Aleem, alleged that the officials of the BJP-ruled municipal body were mercilessly beating the people found defecating in open. Aleem cited an instance where the corporation staff had razed the hutments of some labourers near the Indore railway station after they were found defecating in open.
“Besides imposing fines on open defecators, the corporation is using highhanded approach to achieve their Swachhta Abhiyan targets,” Aleem said, adding that the IMC should first build public toilets at every junction in the city and then they can punish the violators.
Replying to the accusations, BJP corporators said the labourers had encroached upon government land and were defecating in open, so they were asked to use night shelters instead of staying out in open.
Mayor in Council (MiC) member Balram Verma said, “The penalty imposed on open defecators is minimum and it creates a sense of fear among violators. This punishment is sending strong messages in the society.”
Tigress Jamuna’s escape from its enclosure twice in a fortnight at Indore Zoo also sparked a debate on whether the zoo was efficient enough to hold the wild animals and whether it was safe for the visitors.
The opposition also termed the collection of user charges towards door-to-door garbage collection as unfair, saying people were already paying several kinds of taxes.
The opposition listed several suggestions to improve Indore’s ranking in Swacchta Survey that is expected to take place in January next year.
For the efficient execution of door-to-door garbage collection, Rau MLA Jitu Patwari suggested that the routes of the garbage tipper vehicles should be planned so that they consume less diesel and reach maximum number of households.
The opposition also blamed the Speaker, Ajay Singh Naruka, of bias towards ruling party and raised slogans against him.
The meeting was disrupted a few times when Congress corporators demanded detailed discussions on each topic. However, a majority of the proposals were passed without much discussion on the basis of majority in the House.
City Mayor Malini Gaud announced that different competitions such as painting, debates will be organised on the topic ‘Clean Indore’ from December 16 to 31.