STATE OF CITIES: Cleanliness, sanitation ‘dumped’ in Jalandhar
It’s the hub of the sports goods industry hub and one the most prominent cities of Punjab after Amritsar, but Jalandhar has had quite a flop show in Swachh Survekshan 2020, securing an all-India rank of 119 out of 382 cities with a population of up to 10 lakh.
Jalandhar also scored a poor 50% in all parameters in the surveys of 2018, 2019 and 2020, chiefly because it lacks an effective garbage disposal system. City authorities, too, have failed to sanction any major development civic works in the last three to four years, say some municipal corporation officials on condition of anonymity.
In the recent Swacch Survekshan, Jalandhar secured a 50% overall score (3,095 out of 6,000). This includes 988 out of 1,500 in citizens’ feedback; 1,138 points for direct observation (physical observation by the survey agency) out of 1,500; 374 points in service level progress (status of open defecation, garbage collection etc) out of 1,500 and 500 points in certification out 1,500.
The city ranked 166 in 2019 with a score of 2,499 out of 5,000 in the survey, doing worse at rank 214 in 2018 with 2,002 points out of 4,000 among the category of cities with a population of more than one lakh.
Without a solid waste management plant, nearly seven lakh tonnes of garbage has piled up at the Wariana dump, which receives 500 tonnes of waste every day.
A Rs 70 crore bioremediation project planned by MC to treat waste through microorganisms and other methods has yet to take off.
People’s participation is key too, says an MC official. “We need people to cooperate as we don’t get segregated waste from every household. The main areas of the city have been covered for door-to-door collection of waste, but segregation is not done.”
About 80 wards and 11 villages of the Jalandhar Cantonment assembly constituency have been added to the MC – controlled zones, but the delimitation of the villages is yet to be done.
At loggerheads over hiring staff
Criticising officials for delaying important waste management initiatives, the Union of Sanitation and Cleanliness Employees in the MC, asks why more staff are not being hired on contract.
The union and MC are at loggerheads over hiring contractual employees.
Environment authorities have noticed the problems and the National Green Tribunal panel headed by Justice (retd) Jasbir Singh has directed Jalandhar authorities to come with a permanent solution to deal with the Wariana dump.
Chandan Grewal, president of the union, says the city’s upkeep is a problem area because of acute shortage of staff, with just 1,700 to 1,800 employees including safai sewaks, garbage collection staff, on the rolls. Comparing it with other civic bodies, he says Ludhiana MC has a staff strength of 8,000 and Amritsar about 4,500 people.
“The MC administration should be questioned about the (Swachh rankings). We have been demanding that sanitation or cleanliness staff be hired on a regular basis, even if it has to be on minimum wage, but we will not allow any contractor to earn a profit”, says Grewal.
Denying any shortage of funds under the Swachh Bharat or Smart City missions, Jalandhar central MLA Rajinder Beri feels quick utilisation of funds on projects is required. “We need to develop a small garbage dump at every colony where waste can be disposed of at zero point,” he suggests.
There has been leakage of funds, alleges a senior MC official, also on condition of anonymity. “It has to be checked and the money used for development,” he adds.
Basic repair work not done
Prominent roads in the city, especially near the Bus Stand and Nakodar Road, are in a bad state, with surfaces damaged and potholes in some spot. Tenders for the works are being processed, officials say.
Union leaders don’t want dump moved: MC has been supervising the cleanliness staff and their work timings, says Surinder Saini, president, Jalandhar Welfare Society. He alleges that some leaders of the Union of Sanitation and Cleanliness Employees do not want the Wariana dump to be moved because of “personal politics.” The MC needs to sort out the matter quickly, he adds
Garbage everywhere: “How can you expect good rankings in the survey when garbage is scattered on the roads everywhere,” says Nachhtar Singh, a retired government official. The MC should clear it to keep the city clean. Development of roads and other works should be completed on time, he says.
Public participation must: Raman Dutt of the Indo-American Friends Society says public participation is important to guarantee the success of cleanliness and sanitation projects, similar to what Indore has done. Until the public does not understand its responsibilities, Dutt adds, no officer or government can bring about changes in the city.
New development initiatives needed: Drastic steps have to be taken by the government and MC authorities for the overall development of the city, which is currently in very bad shape with each and every road damaged, says businessman Maninder Singh Tikka. A number of new initiatives are required for developing the city.
WHAT OFFICIALS SAY
Deputy commissioner, Ghanshyam Thori says the city has improved its rankings in Swachh Survekshan 2020, which is a matter of satisfaction. “To get into the top 100, I have asked MC authorities to work on the static compactor which will deal with garbage disposal of four or five wards. View cutters also have to be set up.”
Mayor Jagdish Raja asks for people’s co-operation first to improve rankings in Swachh Survekshan and to keep the city clean as segregation of waste material is not being done. “We have been able to run the Nangal Shama area’s solid waste plant, because of which the Rama Mandi zone will stay clean,”he adds. On the lack of civic development, Raja says, “we have floated tenders of Rs 35 crore for the roads and Rs 45 crore for LED light project and have adequate funds for development.” Work on roads has been delayed due to the lockdown.
Municipal corporation commissioner Karnesh Sharma says work is continuing on segregation of waste material in an organised manner and providing E-rickshaw to waste collectors. “We have also floated tender for the bioremediation plant to clear the Wariana Dump in the next three years. About 5,000 new saplings will be planted for greening the city.” Two sewage treatment plants (STP’s) of 50 and 15 MLD are also being installed, he adds.
Institutional composting pits will be dug for disposal of wet waste in defence services campuses, big colonies, hotels or resorts to process the waste at zero point. On potholed and damaged roads, Sharma says the MC will continue repair work, “but we will build all the roads in the next three months.”
Population: Over 8 lakh
Annual budget for cleanliness related works: Rs40 crore
ODF certification - Rectified
STATUS OF PENDING PROJECTS
1. Solid waste management plant, bioremediation for Wariana dump: Rs 70 crore, in tendering process
2. Building roads: Rs 35 crore. Tender completed, work yet to start.
119 (out of 382 cities in the 1-10 lakh population category)
166 (Out of 425 cities in 1 lakh and above population category)
214 (Out of 425 cities in 1 lakh and above population category)