CHANDIGARH: Once one of the most dynamic cities in the region, Ambala today gasps for a whiff of fresh air. The reason: Callous attitude of the official agencies over the years rendered the city without a proper drainage, sewerage or garbage treatment system.
Barring a few areas in the city or the cantonment, overflowing roadside drains or littered streets are a common sight in most of the areas. These are besides the heaps of rotting garbage scattered on roadsides, in localities, markets and residential sectors. One can see people urinating in the open at common places, be it busy markets or boundary walls of any government or private buildings.
SQUALID SLUMS ADD TO WOES
Residents say the authorities have done little or nothing about the filthy condition of the ever-expanding slums near Jain College and Sector 9. “Yeh pata nahi chalta ke slum Sector 9 mein hai ke Sector 9 slum mein banaya hai,’’ mocks a city dweller (meaning that it is difficult to say if the Sector 9 is in the slum or the other way round).
In Ambala Cantonment’s sadar area too, heaps of garbage near Kabadi Bazaar and Baldev Nagar seem to be permanent while the railway station and bus stand boundary walls double up as the areas’ biggest public urinals. While health minister and Ambala Cantt legislator Anil Vij and first-time MLA legislator from Ambala City Aseem Goel admit the dirty condition in the city, they insist a solution to the garbage menace would be found soon. Ambala City mayor Ramesh Mal also concedes the sanitation system is on the verge of collapse, giving an assurance to make things better. But not many residents are willing to take their words at face value.
CLEANLINESS CHAMPS SHOW THE WAY
Amid the air of despair, there are people in the city who have shown the way, keeping their surroundings spic and span. In Shastri Colony, having 300-odd houses, the residents have been maintaining cleanliness in their area for the past 13 years. “We decided to take care of the problem and keep our colony clean in the wake of inadequate and ineffective municipal corporation (MC) workforce. Today, things are a lot better, ”says Poonam Gupta, chairperson of the women wing of the colony society.