Obnoxious stink, garbage, mounds of filth and slush welcome commuters at the bus stand where most buses of Haryana Roadways plying on the Delhi-Chandigarh national highway halt.
The filth at the bus stand visited by thousands of passengers daily mirrors the reality of the Swachh Haryana campaign launched by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar last year. The one opposite the railway station at Ambala Cantonment is also as dirty, if not worse. The bus stops in most cities and towns are either no different or worse. Similarly, motorists on the Delhi-Ambala highway can be seen stopping their vehicles and lining up to pee anywhere and everywhere – it’s a common and ugly sight.
“Koi nahi dekhta na koi puchhta hai. Koi bhi kahin bhi khada ho jata hai. Koi bhi kahin bhi kuchh bhi phainkta hai, (No one bothers. People urinate in public spaces and don’t think twice before littering,” grumbles Jatin, 23, a student of Kurukshetra University who commutes from Yamunanagar daily. He just hopes the government deploys at least one cop or a sanitation worker to stop people from doing such activities. Similar angry voices can be heard across the state. Bhumesh and his brother Sunil accuse the authorities of fooling the people with tall promises and false claims.
Manoj Kumar of Ambala and Satish Saini of Yamunanagar are disappointed over the lack of response from the authorities to complaints related to their dirty neighbourhood. While Manoj says his hometown does not have a waste treatment plant, the latter points out how the one in Yamunanagar has remained shut with no efforts to make it functional.
CAMPAIGN ON PAPER
Though a year has passed, the state authorities dealing with urban areas having a population of 88 lakh, as per the 2011 census, are still grappling with plans, estimates and progress reports of the campaign.
The government submitted a five-year action plan (2015-19) to the Centre which sanctioned the first installment of grant of `17.62 crore for the construction of household and community toilets, besides other works.
But there hasn’t been much work on the ground. After a survey to identify households requiring toilets, 85,215 applications were received and sanction was granted to 31,275. Only 1,628 individual toilets have been completed so far. While 1,692 public toilets were to be constructed or renovated, work on 253 toilets has been done. Besides, door-to-door collection is being done in just 318 of the 1,439 municipal wards. “We have decided to adopt an integrated approach right from collection to disposal. Private agencies would be given the responsibility of collection, segregation, treatment and disposal,” urban local bodies minister Kavita Jain told HT.
Despite the grim scenario, there are pockets where individuals are working to keep their environs clean. In Khadri village of Yamunanagar district, for instance, former panchayat members continue to discuss plans for a model village with an effective garbage collection and disposal system. “The refuse is sold in the scrap market. We use the money on village works,” says former sarpanch Sudhir.
In fits and starts
Faridabad: On November 1, Manohar Lal Khattar launched the Swachh Haryana-Swachh Bharat campaign by taking the broom for cameras in a slum at Krishna Colony of Faridabad. But that was it. Almost a year later, nothing has changed there.
Piles of garbage and potholes filled with dirty water from an overflowing sewer greet visitors. Pigs and dogs forage in rubbish and sludge. A week-long cleanliness campaign was started days before the PM’s visit to inaugurate the Badarpur-Faridabad metro line on September 6, but the situation continues to be bad. To mark one year of the Swachh Bharat campaign, the labour department again undertook another two-day cleanliness drive in all industrial zones.