Swachh Survekshan-2022: Rank disregard for Swachh rankings, industrial hub stuck in limbo

Published on Oct 03, 2022 03:53 AM IST

This year, the city’s rank dropped to 40, and it figured among the six least clean cities with a population over 10 lakh in the country.

The annual Swachhata rankings have encouraged civic bodies across the country to improve waste management and put in efforts to become a garbage-free city. (HT File)
The annual Swachhata rankings have encouraged civic bodies across the country to improve waste management and put in efforts to become a garbage-free city. (HT File)
By, Ludhiana

The tall claims of the Ludhiana municipal corporation have rung hollow once again with the financial capital and largest city of Punjab once again scraping the bottom in the Swachh Survekshan rankings.

This year, the city’s rank dropped to 40, and it figured among the six least clean cities with a population over 10 lakh in the country.

The annual Swachhata rankings have encouraged civic bodies across the country to improve waste management and put in efforts to become a garbage-free city. While many cities successfully climbed up the Swachh ladder, Ludhiana could not even maintain last year’s 39th rank.

The ministry of housing and urban affairs had ranked cities on different cleanliness and waste management parameters, including door-to-door waste collection, waste segregation, and proper waste disposal.

Many factors contributed to the city’s poor performance, including partial implementation of waste segregation, mountains of untreated legacy waste, improper functioning of sewage treatment plant(STP), improper solid waste management, and failure to achieve open defecation free (ODF++) certification.

Ludhiana dirtiest city in state: Resident

A resident of Model Town and member of the Public Action Committee (group of NGOs) Jaskirat Singh said, “Ludhiana is becoming one of the dirtiest cities of the state. Open dumping of garbage can be witnessed in every nook and corner of the city, but authorities seem blind to the issue. The rankings should not come as a surprise to officials as they failed to perform well. In fact, I am surprised that five cities are behind Ludhiana in the survey! Rather than focusing on the Smart City Mission, the authorities should first start dealing with the major issues concerning residents that are taking a toll on the environment,” said Singh.

Different projects including installation of static compactors to stop open dumping of garbage, disposing of over 30 lakh metric tonnes of legacy waste accumulated at main dump site on Tajpur Road, ensuring proper functioning of STPs, and establishing a construction and demolition (C and D) waste plant have been hanging fire for years together as the fund-starved MC is loath to implement them.

The MC has also failed to ensure waste segregation and enforce a complete ban on plastic carry bags. Notably, processing of waste had also come to halt at the main dump site after A2Z company self-terminated the solid waste management contract with MC in February 2021.

The civic body has also received a rap from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on many occasions. Recently, the tribunal also imposed a 100 crore interim compensation (penalty) on the civic body for failing to deal with over 30 lakh metric tonnes of accumulated waste on the main dump site.

MC officials say the project to commence bio-remediation of legacy waste is expected to commence this month. In the first phase, 5 lakh metric tonnes of waste will be disposed of at a cost of around 28 crore. “The work to establish new STPs and upgrade the existing plants is also underway under the project to rejuvenate Buddha Nullah. Other projects, including the one for installation of static compactors is also on track and a change will soon be seen on ground level. Efforts are also on to ensure waste segregation in the city,” an official, who did not wish to be named, said.

Asked about the city’s lacklustre performance, MC commissioner Shena Aggarwal said, “There were a lot of shortcomings, which impacted our rankings. We are now working on improving solid waste management in the city, and hope to improve our rank next year.”

Officials’ visits to Indore fail to bear fruits

Official visits by MC teams to study solid waste management models of their cities, including Indore - the cleanest city, has failed to bear fruits for the civic body. MC teams had also visited Chennai, Jodhpur, Okhla and prepared reports on the same, but to no avail.

City’s performance over the years

Many factors have contributed to the city’s poor performance, including partial implementation of waste segregation, mountains of untreated legacy waste, and improper functioning of STPs among others.

Year City’s rank Total cities

2021 39 48

2020 34 47

2019 163 425

2018 137 485

2017 140 434

2016 34 50

: Ranking portray a dismal picture of state’s largest city and financial capital

Harsimran Singh Batra

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