Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Gurgaon among ‘dirtiest’ cities in the country

  • Megha Laroia, Hindustan Times, Gurgaon
  • Updated: Oct 09, 2015 19:31 IST
Gurgaon figures among the “dirtiest” cities of the country with an abysmally low rank of 466 out of 476 in the rankings released by the Union urban development ministry. (Livemint photo)

It’s been touted as India’s Manhattan or the Milliennium City from time to time, thanks to its corporate skyscrapers, glitzy malls and chic apartments.

But just look outside these swanky structures, you see a city dogged by poor sanitation and lack of an effective garbage handling system.

Gurgaon figures among the “dirtiest” cities of the country with an abysmally low rank of 466 out of 476 in the rankings released by the Union urban development ministry seven weeks ago on the basis of their cleanliness quotient, badly floundering on open defecation and solid waste management.

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has failed to make a visible impact on the ground. Though there have been improvements, still a lot has to be achieved. The city streets continue to be as filthy as ever, with water bodies and storm water drains stinking with sewage and many still defecating in the open. While revival of Bhandwari waste treatment plant is still on paper, no proper arrangement for medical waste disposal has been taken by the administration.

Big plans, little action

Moreover, one year down the line, the statistics by the municipal corporation (MC) of Gurgaon indicate that it has a long way to go before the goal of eliminating open defecation. Though the plan specifies construction of 26 community and 131 public toilets and 5,800 individual household latrines, no activity has taken place on the ground till now. Only the construction of a urinal near the bus stand and a public utility at Rajiv Chowk has been started, which is way behind the target and the problem of making them operational still lies ahead.

A visit to public places such as the bus stand exposes the reality of the work done by the state agencies. While the main bus stand and mini secretariat continue to have heaps of garbage lying at the corners, the railway station is somewhat better. The condition of the civil hospital is worse with all the medical waste being dumped on the terrace of the building.

Numerous residents’ welfare associations, politicians, NGOs and corporates had carried out cleanliness drives in and around their respective areas or buildings after the campaign was launched. However, a year later, while some roads may look cleaner, others have become worse than before.

‘Dependent on social behaviour’

Though a few condominiums in new Gurgaon have adopted the effective mantra of ‘reduce, recycle, repair compost’ for solid waste management, the corporation is yet to start door-to-door canvassing in the city to ensure real zero-waste sectors.

“It’s a process and not a one-time activity. Continuous efforts are needed. Government approvals for projects related to construction of toilets are taking time. This mission is somewhat dependent on social behaviour of citizens that needs to be changed,” said municipal commissioner Vikas Gupta.

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