While the findings of a survey conducted by the Union ministry of urban development declaring Jalandhar as the cleanest city in Punjab has come as a shot in the arm for the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled municipal corporation, which has been drawing flak from different quarters on a variety of issues, it has come as a surprise for local residents as well as the opposition Congress.
According to the survey conducted under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by the ministry, Jalandhar has been ranked 28th among all Indian cities and first in Punjab, while the union territory of Chandigarh has been ranked 21st in the overall list.
“It is a great achievement for the MC. We were saying that the civic body has taken some initiatives to improve the cleanliness condition in the city but nobody paid any heed to this. The Union urban ministry’s survey is a stamp on our success. But we will not boast over it and will make more efforts to sustain the ranking,” mayor Sunil Jyoti said.
During the survey, the ministry has used a set of data from different cities based on ground inspection as how many households use toilet, whether number of public toilets is in proportion with the size of the city besides being functional, assessing door-to-door collection of garbage and solid waste disposal.
MC officials are of the opinion that initiatives such as door-to-door garbage collection as part of the solid waste management system helped Jalandhar in bagging the top slot among Punjab cities.
Jalandhar is the only city in the state where the door-to-door collection of garbage has been steady in the past one year despite resentment by various safai sewak unions.
In many other civic bodies the garbage collection, is not being done and if is in place is not regular and successful.
MC health officials claimed that the biggest achievement in past one year has been reducing the number of secondary garbage collection centres that created a lot of filth around.
“Though a lot needs to be done, we have been successful in making our streets and main roads garbage-free. The decision to create a few dumping sites has also helped us,” said MC’s assistant health officer Dr Shree Krishan.
Opposition not convinced
Though the BJP-SAD leaders are elated to get the top slot, the opposition Congress is least convinced with the findings of the survey.
“Take out a survey of the city and you will get to know that if Jalandhar is the cleanest or the dirtiest. The survey conducted by the central government is a joke. This is might be an old survey by the ministry Jalandhar is believed to be the finest and the cleanest city in Punjab years ago,” said Jagdish Raja of Congress who is leader of opposition in the municipal corporation.
Raj said even as the municipal corporation claims to have successfully started the solid waste management project it is just an eyewash as the MC authorities have failed to provide any proper land to the company to construct the plant.