Abohar makes strides in Swachh Survekshan, sheds tag of India’s 3rd dirtiest city - Hindustan Times
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Abohar makes strides in Swachh Survekshan, sheds tag of India’s 3rd dirtiest city

ByVishal Joshi, Bathinda
Nov 22, 2021 02:46 AM IST

Abohar climbed to an impressive 105th position from the previous 380th in this year’s edition of the Swachh Survekshan in the category of cities with 1-10 lakh population

Abohar in Punjab’s Fazilka district made a big leap in the national cleanliness standards from India’s 3rd dirtiest city in 2020 to an impressive 105th position (previous 380th) in this year’s edition of the Swachh Survekshan in the category of cities with a population between 1 and 10 lakh.

The urban local body, having a population of 1.45 lakh according to the 2011 Census, is the hometown of erstwhile Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar who represented the Abohar assembly segment for three consecutive terms from 2002 to 2017.
The urban local body, having a population of 1.45 lakh according to the 2011 Census, is the hometown of erstwhile Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar who represented the Abohar assembly segment for three consecutive terms from 2002 to 2017.

Abohar was adjudged the 5th cleanest city in Punjab against the last year’s 14th.

The urban local body, having a population of 1.45 lakh according to the 2011 Census, is the hometown of erstwhile Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar who represented the Abohar assembly segment for three consecutive terms from 2002 to 2017.

Municipal commissioner Abhijeet Kaplish, a 2015-batch IAS officer, was tasked to improve sanitation levels of the city after it fared badly in the 2020 national cleanliness audit. Kaplish gives credit to two sanitary inspectors — Jaspal Singh and Kartar Singh —for leading inspection and execution works.

After assuming office in June last year, Kaplish almost doubled the strength of sanitary workers from 130 to over 250. The construction of several public toilets also got the city the open defecation free (ODF+) tag.

“The MC bought 25 tippers equipped with global positioning system (GPS) and 75 rickshaws for garbage collection from every nook and corner of the city. We got constructed 200 compost pits where municipal waste was processed. CCTV cameras were installed at the worksites for accountability and it worked well,” said Kaplish.

Also, the city residents volunteered for regular cleanliness drives as part of the ‘Apna Abohar Apni Abha’, a campaign started by former district Youth Congress president and Sunil’s nephew Sandeep Jakhar.

“Overflowing sewers and heaps of garbage were common in the city till a few months ago. There has been a sea change,” said Hardeep Singh, a city resident.

Kaplish said the civic body got sewerage cleaned with super-suction machines. “Over 40% sewer lines were choked and dismal work by a private contractor in laying underground water and lateral lines led to battered roads. It was almost impossible to maintain even basic hygienic standards. But we took all measures to expedite underground pipe-laying works,” he added.

Abohar mayor Vimal Tathai said the municipal administration took it as a challenge and resolved to get rid of the tag of being the 3rd filthiest city in the country.

“There is no denying the fact that cleanliness infrastructure was in a shambles till last year. The town was deprived of development activities since Independence. We took the criticism in a positive manner and worked sincerely. Collective efforts yielded results,” said Tathai, who took over as the first mayor of Abohar in April this year.

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