Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal skipped the inauguration of a national meet on municipal solid waste management here on Tuesday, even as the state's local government minister Anil Joshi expressed doubts over the political will to spearhead waste management projects.
Sukhbir was in Faridkot on Tuesday to inaugurate a rural sports festival organised on the occasion of Baba Farid's birth anniversary, besides other engagements. However, as per the media invite issued by the Punjab public relations department, the deputy CM was slated to inaugurate the meet here.
"Such projects cannot succeed if there is no willpower, and we are facing this problem here (in Punjab)," Joshi said in the inaugural address.
The BJP minister was all praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Swachh Bharat campaign, saying that such a nationwide drive would not have been possible had Modi not been the Prime Minister.
Skipping the conclave's agenda of challenges before solid waste management projects, Joshi laid stress on making Swachh Bharat a success, asking private players present on the occasion to use this slogan on garbage bins.
He also criticised 'langar' (community kitchen), saying that such practices added to the litter in cities, with no arrangement to clear the leftover waste and trash.
'Municipality services not to be outsourced'
Joshi later clarified while talking to the media on the sidelines of the conclave that the state government had no plans to outsource municipality services.
"Regular tender processes to hire companies for specific jobs would continue, but there is no plan to outsource municipality works," he said.
He, however, gave a call for adopting a unique public-private-NGO participatory model to make municipal solid waste management projects a success.
Mayors and commissioners of various municipal corporations and councils, and local government officials from Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Assam, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and Manipur attended the national workshop.
Union ministry of urban development joint secretary Shubha Thakur, in her address, said 1.7 lakh metric tonnes of waste was produced daily in the country, coming mainly from metro cities. Waste management, she said, was a very big challenge that needed to be overcome with joint efforts of the Centre and state governments.