Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Clean-up plan only on paper in Bathinda

  • Sondeep Singh Sandhu, Hindustan Times, Bathinda
  • Updated: Oct 06, 2015 12:19 IST
Heaps of garbage dot the city. The Bathinda municipal corporation has failed to rope in people for the campaign. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT Photo)

Launched with much fanfare a year ago, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) has failed to show any tangible results in Bathinda.

The district administration and the municipal corporation have made several plans to carry out cleanliness drives across the city in past one year, but they all remain on paper.

Heaps of garbage on roadsides and poor condition of public toilets present a telling picture of apathy and neglect.

Political leaders and administrative officials, who were seen competing with each other to get clicked while wielding the broom when the campaign was launched, have miserably failed to motivate people to join the drive.

The only silver lining amid the gloom is that the MC has managed to start the door-todoor collection of garbage in the city. However, the delay in commissioning of solid waste management plant is threatening to dent the civic body’s initiative.

The municipal corporation also plans to set up 15 mobile toilets to stop open defecation in remote and undeveloped areas.

Fund crunch a stumbling block

Paucity of funds is a major roadblock in implementing the plans effectively. The government has reportedly allocated Rs 11.43 lakh for the campaign. The civic body claims it has yet to receive a single penny.

BMC commissioner Anil Garg said the civic body is expected to get funds soon as the file has been cleared at a higher level.

“We are going to start campaign to make vacant plots garbage-free soon. In case of violations, the plot owners would be held accountable,” Garg said.

A random survey done by Hindustan Times revealed that even after the start of door-to-door garbage collection scheme, litter is seen dumped along roadsides and vacant plots across the city.

The civic body has indentified 36 secondary door-to-door garbage dumping points across the city. However, the delay in lifting of garbage from these points is making matters worse.

Garbage near mayor’s house!

The condition of Bathinda bus stand is pathetic. It seems the area hasn’t been cleaned for past several months.

Foul smell emanates from public urinals and heaps of garbage at the bus stand.

The sanitation conditions are worst in Lal Singh Basti, Paras Ram Nagar, Amarpura Basti, Partap Nagar, Multania Road and Sanjay Nagar.

What’s more, even the area near the residence of mayor Balwant Rai Nath in Sanjay Nagar is untidy and unhygienic with garbage dumped out in the open.

People have failed to pitch in

The lack of civic sense among people is one of the main hindrances in implementing the campaign properly, claims the civic body.

Though the ‘clean India campaign’ aimed at involving people to keep their surroundings clean, Bathinda residents have failed to pitch in.

Instead of using bins, people are seen dumping garbage along the roads.

Public toilets are rarely used and people urinate in the open, resulting in unhygienic conditions near markets.

“The residents must understand their responsibility to keep their surroundings and the city clean,” says Gurwinder Singh Mann, an advocate.

‘Will renovate all public toilets’

What steps have been taken to improve sanitation conditions since the launch of Swachh Bharat last year?

The Bathinda civic body has recently launched the SBA awareness campaign in schools where students would be motivated to keep their surroundings clean. We are putting up hoardings at important road junctions and markets to make residents aware. Special steps have already been initiated to make Bathinda open defecation-free.

What challenges did you face in implementing the campaign?

Lack of awareness among people is a major stumbling block. People need to change their mindset and pitch in. Staff crunch in the sanitation department is another problem. We will soon fill the vacant posts of sweepers.

How will you strengthen the sanitation system in the future?

All public toilets across the city will be renovated. As many as 15 mobile toilets would be introduced. These toilets would be used in targeted areas. We are also planning to optimally use the social media spread awareness. Dustbins will be installed at public places, government offices and markets.

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