Participants at the HT Roundtable ‘Making Chandigarh the Cleanest City’ were unanimous that the 11th rank of the city in the Centre’s Swachh Survekshan survey — a steep drop from the second position in 2016 — came as a setback.
Municipal corporation commissioner B Purushartha said, “I am not going to forget it easily.” Former Union minister and MP Pawan Kumar Bansal said the rank was a disappointment.
The panel was unanimous that failure to finish among the top 10 cleanest cities of the country was a rap for a city, whose tag line was City Beautiful.
Apart from Bansal and Purushartha, former mayors Subhash Chawla and Arun Sood, first-time councillor Maheshinder Sidhu, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal chairman Charanjiv Singh and Federation of Sectors Welfare Association Chandigarh (FOSWAC) chairman Baljinder Singh Bittu took part.
Purushartha added that he was hurt by the indifference of the residents as less than 3% had participated in the survey which had led to the drop in ranking.
He said he would rather have welcomed a negative feedback from where he could take cues on improvement. To which, Bansal retorted, “Indifference means negative feedback only.”
He added that the commissioner should have facilitated the residents in the feedback process.
‘PENALTY FOR LITTERING WELCOME’
The participants welcomed the steps proposed by the corporation to levy penalty for littering and not disposing of garbage properly, though they said execution remained the key.
There was consensus on the need to increase the MC’s powers. “Except law and order, and collection of road taxes, everything else should be with the MC,” said Bansal. Supporting Bansal on the need to empower the MC, former mayors Sood and Chawla said that all parties are unequivocal and unanimous on this.