HT Chandigarh Readers’ Take: To improve Swachh Survekshan rankings, make haste, clear waste
Blame game takes it toll
Having failed to work out a solution with the Jaypee Group,the municipal corporation authorities are not taking the blame for the huge amount of mixed garbage at Dadumajra, which fouls up the air in a 10-kilometre radius around it. One way out of the mess is that residents should use wet waste for composting. The existing limited installed capacity of the Dadumajra plant can be to some extent be sorted out if waste is segregated at source. MC must get its act together and ensure the entire garbage does not get mixed in transit and offloaded as such at the disposal site. The MC commissioner hopes that things will get sorted out by October, so we have to wait and watch and hope for improvements in the city’s rankings next year.
Control waste, let locals take responsibility
There is a saying: “Charity begins at home. We the residents are also to be blamed for throwing waste in the open and not segregating at source. Stray cattle and dogs can be seen in all residential areas, defecating on roads, parks and other public places. MC authorities are not taking any drastic measures to control this menace. Apart from cleanliness of the area, waste management is the need of the hour. Residents must cooperate with authorities and ensure that waste is not discarded in public places like gardens, roads, nullahs, drains, etc. MC authorities should work on a war footing and ensure that waste is disposed of regularly as per norms and not allowed to to accumulate at collection centres set up by MC authorities.
Col TBS Bedi (retd), Chandigarh
Awareness programmes for clean, green city a must
Waste management is the key to ‘swachh bharat’, and that is where the tricity, especially Chandigarh, has been failing repeatedly. The private door-to-door waste collection model has not worked. The MC has failed miserably on the three R’s of waste management: Reduce, reuse and recycle, and MC commissioner KK Yadav is as usual blaming citizens, resident welfare associations and his own staff. The garbage dumping scenario is getting worse each passing day. The Sehaj Safai Kendra’s (SSKs) are in a bad state and the arrangement between the Jaypee garbage processing plant at Dadumajra and the MC has fallen through. Toxins such as dioxins and furans are being released into the atmosphere. The compost unit has operational deficiencies. Instead of treating effluents the Jaypee plant caused serious pollution. The processing capacity does not have the capacity to handle garbage from the city and its disposal is a matter of concern. Though the Chandigarh Pollution Control Board could not resolve issues, the National Green Tribunal took cognisance of the matter in March 2019 and the UT administration submitted a compliance report on solid, plastic and biomedical waste management, outlining steps taken for air quality control. It specified that by June 1, 2019, systems should be in place, which was revised to September 2019, but till date, a year later, nothing concrete has been done at the ground level. There are fines in place for littering and dumping unprocessed construction/ demolition waste in low lying areas, landfills and public places, but implementation is a problem. Creating awareness by conducting road shows, multimedia campaigns, visiting schools and educating children and making them aware about how to keep our city ‘clean and green’, have to be ongoing exercises.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
RWAs, authorities have to work together
The City Beautiful cannot make it to the top rung in cleanliness programmes until the citizens, RWAs and the administration work together. It is the people of the city who can only take this initiative and decide whether they want to live in a clean city or not. Once they make up their minds putting a good plan in place will not be a problem.
Priyam Aggarwal, Chandigarh.
Take a page from the Indore model
It is the joint responsibility of the residents as well as the MC to keep the city clean, with the former taking firm measures to stop littering and instead dumping garbage only at the assigned spots. Segregating waste is most important. Those found littering or defecating in the open and not segregating waste should be fined immediately. Public toilets have to be cleaned regularly and kept open on all seven days – sometimes they are locked on Sundays. Sweeping of the roads should be done at night. Look at how well Indore has been faring in the rankings, MC should do everything possible to adopt that model.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
Students, local leaders should take charge
Fixing responsibility is a way to ensure the city’s cleanliness, but overpopulation, internal MC politics and the issue of sorting out the waste management issue is leading to problems. Holding MC employees accountable for a slip in rankings should be done when all other steps have failed. Locals, especially private persons such as students and local leaders should take charge and ensure no one litters. Budget for waste management should also be increased.
Avinash Goyal, Chandigarh
Give incentives for innovation and good work
Fixing responsibility for the city’s slip in rankings will not be easy and logically conclusive because no project is a one-man show and the blame will be passed on from one department to the other. The better line of action is motivation and incentives given for innovation and good work. This annual exercise is not to secure a qualifying score but to ensure that all the 4,242 participating cities and towns vie for the best ranking. This warrants specific efforts as any complacency will mean a poor performance – to target key categories and sub-categories which need to be publicised among all stakeholders. All endeavours go for a six when waste dumps, roads and localities get inundated after rain. Stormwater infrastructure should be augmented.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Strict control over MC spending required
Now it has been reported that segregation of garbage, the main point of deficiency in the waste management system, at people’s doorsteps, is set to start by October with Chandigarh Smart City by purchasing 390 twin-bin BS6 vehicles to lift dry and wet garbage separately. The responsibility of segregation, instead of Chandigarh municipal Corporation, now rests on the shoulders of Chandigarh Smart City Limited. The MC earlier used to be cash rich but now because of financial constraints due to poor planning it has been forced to even put off development work. It can perhaps cut costs by stopping spending on refreshments at every monthly meeting as all councillors are local and get allowances for attending this and other meetings. The authorities should not sanction local and foreign tours, fuel expenses, or give out laptops to those who do not know how to operate them. Night food streets should be revived once the pandemic is over. The corporation can earn revenues by starting mini buses for local routes. Also, all projects handed over to contractors should be now run by MC staff with officials concerned responsible for their working and promoted/demoted on the success of the project.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
Authorities, residents to blame
The civic authorities and residents are equally responsible for not maintaining the city’s cleanliness. One can see heaps of garbage at spots near the Central Library, in Sector 34, Chandigarh, for instance. The city’s upkeep is way down the priority list of the authorities. Littering should be penalised strictly, which is not being done as yet.
Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali
Need for effective waste recycling
The MC is accountable to the residents for inaction, apathy and mismanagement. It should look into and adopt the latest measures for recycling garbage. Garden/kitchen waste can be used as manure through composting. Construction waste can be used for making bricks, for which MC can get in touch with brick kiln owners and make it mandatory to supply waste to the kiln. Study tours by councillors to various cities should be stopped as these don’t seem to have worked so far.
Usha Verma, Chandigarh
Impose strict penalty for littering
Fixing accountability to improve the city’s cleanliness is not the only way to deal with the slide in rankings. We cannot always blame the government for collection of garbage because it is the duty of the citizens too to segregate wasted and dispose it too. The government has made public toilets so that the city is open defecation free but these are not maintained properly. Penalty for littering should be imposed strictly. Secondly, the Ghaggar river is getting polluted by the day, so there should be a strict ban on dumping garbage in it. It is also the duty of the residents to manage waste effectively and do not throw garbage in the streets, adopting composting as a way of life.
Recycling garbage the way forward
Yes, accountability has to be fixed to improve the city’s ranking in cleanliness. That is from the officials of the MC and UT. But, along with that, we have to develop a good got to develop a good civic sense, not only to solve the problem of garbage disposal but also to keep the city clean. Fines by the MC are in order, but that alone will not help. We have to develop the habit of keeping our own homes and surroundings clean. Specifically, an effective way to dispose of garbage is by chemical decomposition. In Chandigarh, garbage can be turned into fuel energy, and manure. With IITs and so many engineering colleges in the country, why can’t we find ways to convert garbage into an asset, rather than a problem? Recycling and conversion is the way forward. Let it be a people’s movement, starting collection from each house, and ending up in industrial units. If the garbage collectors do not turn up, we should ourselves dispose it on the way to work. Take initiative, do it yourself. Don’t keep blaming others.
Colonel RD Singh (retd), Ambala
READER OF THE WEEK
Reassurance of getting trucks for waste segregation a bluff
What standards of accountability can be fixed, when the Central agencies are monitoring and declaring the ranking of the cities across the country for almost five years now? Thousands of tonnes of waste are unprocessed even after the plant has been taken over by the MC. However, except for a visit by a team of expert the assess the viability of the machines at the plant, nothing was being done to upgrade or replace them. Now the MC is trying to reassure the citizens that they will get 390 trucks for 100% waste segregation in the next two months and will be able to improve its ranking by next years. Can there be a bigger bluff than this? When the MC does not have money to complete urgent repairs of the roads, and when a tender for the 390 trucks is yet to be floated, how quickly will the vehicles be put to use? All the officials in Chandigarh know they are here for a short duration, to expect accountability is out of the question.
Suresh Verma, Chandigarh
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