Unlike most other cities in the state, the Swachh Bharat story is turning out to be a tad different here. The people and officials are working together to keep their town spic and span.
Construction of public toilets, distribution of dustbins to shopkeepers, creation of a cattle yard, door-to-door garbage collection and segregation of garbage at street level have been going on smoothly, giving impetus to the cleanliness drive.
Leading the campaign are Ramji Lal, executive engineer of Hisar municipal corporation, and his 1,000-odd colleagues. “We did nothing except making people aware of hazards of living in filth. When we started the awareness campaign, they laughed at us in the beginning, but then there was realisation. Besides 10 NGOs and corporates that are involved in the drive, now many people are cooperating with us” Ramji Lal, a familiar face in the city, told Hindustan Times.
The corporation has a team of 725 safai karamcharis, 165 huge garbage bins, 6 dumper placers, 12 tractor trailers, 200 garbage carts, one JCB machine (earthmover) and one automatic road sweeping machine to keep the city clean. While 10 public toilets have been constructed at important places with the help of NGOs and private companies, 30 more have been planned. The MC plans to handover these toilets to private companies giving them `5,000 per toilet a month for cleaning and maintenance.
WHATSAPP BRIDGES THE GAP
Another initiative in this regard is creation of a WhatsApp group, Swachh Hisar, to connect and involve the residents who have been urged to post pictures of dirty places. “The MC staff and volunteers respond to such posts and reach the spot for cleaning it,” said an official. Garbage collectors have been given special carts for segregation of garbage on the spot, which saves time. Besides a dumping ground of 19 acres at a distance of 10 km from the city, the MC has also identified 32 acres of land for a solid waste management plant and set a proposal to the state government for setting up the facility.
The corporation is also planning to hold an awareness campaign at big educational institutes, industries and government institutions to motivate them to make their own arrangements for garbage collection and disposal so that sweepers of the corporation could focus on cleaning the city.
OPEN DEFECATION A CHALLENGE
While their efforts in the past one year have started showing results, one major challenge is the project goal of making the city open defecation-free, with about 2,673 city households being without toilets. Open defecation is common on the outskirts of the city, particularly in Surya Nagar area.
Mayor Shakuntla Rajliwala said that a special drive had been started to make the city open defecation-free by giving a push to construction of toilets in households without the facility.
The corporation would give `12,000 per household for construction of toilets in such households and had already released the first instalment of `4,000, she added.