A councillor of the Barmer civic body, instead of blaming authorities for piles of garbage on roads and in neighbourhoods, has picked up the broom to clean up his ward areas.
In the recent Swachh Sarvekshan (survey), 18 of 29 cities in Rajasthan are ranked beyond 300 with 13 in the bottom 100. Bundi, at 171, is the best ranked city in the state; Kishangarh in Ajmer, ranked 419, is the dirtiest.
Badal Singh, councillor from ward number 35 in Barmer, said staff crunch in civic bodies and lack of dedication among sweepers have hit cleanliness drives in the state.
“I was fed up with regular complaints from residents of my ward. Initially I also made complaints to the council authorities about slack in cleanliness,” said Singh.
“After no response from authorities, I was left with two options – blame the officials for the mess or take up the responsibility of fulfilling the cleanliness commitment I made to my people. I opted for the second.”
For the past two weeks, Singh has been sweeping his ward areas everyday for two hours -- from 7am to 9am. During these hours, he said, women usually throw garbage outside their houses.
“After I picked up the broom, women, instead of throwing garbage on the roads, have started dumping it in dustbins; I managed to install dustbins in my ward through public contributions,” Singh said.
“On the first day when I started cleaning the roads, some people thought I was doing it for publicity; after seeing me on the job in the next few days, they came forward and became my partners. Apart from youths, many women have joined me in cleaning the roads.”
Dr Lata Agarwal, a gynaecologist who has joined Singh’s cleanliness drive, said, “It is good that the councillor is fulfilling his promise he had made during the election campaign.”
She said, “Singh is setting an example; instead of depending on the government machinery, people should make their area clean and hygienic.”
Earlier, Singh had set up a showroom, ‘HELP’, to distribute clothes among the destitute and homeless people. His initiative was inspired by Jhalawar’s ‘Wall of Kindness’ that urged people to donate winter clothes for the poor.