Ghaziabad civic agency re-certified as ODF++ after cleanliness inspection
Ghaziabad: The officials of the Ghaziabad municipal corporation said Saturday that the corporation area has been re-certified as Open Defecation Free++ (ODF++) after a recent third-party inspection taken up by the Quality Council of India (QCI). They added that unlike the previous year, more public toilets this time were termed under the “aspirational” category during the survey.
Officials said the inspection was carried out in the city on January 14 and 15, when sewage treatment plants (STPs) as well as randomly selected toilets in the city were inspected.
There are a total of seven STPs in Ghaziabad.
“During the survey, seven of the STPs were found running and properly treating sewage. All STPs in the city are functional but under-utilised. Also, total of 39 public toilets and urinals were inspected and 33 of these were categorised under the highest, the “aspirational” category, with one categorised as “excellent” and five categorised as “very clean”. During the last inspection in 2020, only 13 public toilets were termed ”aspirational” and this year we achieved better results,” said Arun Kumar Mishra, the civic body’s accounts officer and nodal officer for the Swachh Survekshan.
The 33 public toilets termed “aspirational” are located in urban slums, residential and commercial areas in Ghaziabad city, besides public parks, transport hubs and at other public places.
The officials said that a city/ward/work-circle can be notified ODF++ if at any point of the day not a single person is found defecating or urinating in the open, and all community and public toilets are functional and well maintained.
“There are about 28 parameters on the basis of which the assessment is made. The ODF++ rating will help us in getting more points during the upcoming Swachh Survekshan – 2021, which will start in March. The competition carries 500 out of the total 6,000 points assigned for the ODF++ status. So, our ODF++ re-certification will help us in the upcoming competition,” Mishra added.
Environmentalists said that sustainability is a major challenge.
“Upkeep of STPs and maintaining toilets is a tough task and such sites must be maintained throughout the year. The overall outlook of the city has improved with facilities, but sustainability is a major challenge,” said Akash Vashishtha, a city-based environmentalist.
Mishra said that the corporation is planning that all public toilets, about 136 in the corporation area, will be maintained by an outsourced agency.
“To tackle the sustainability challenge, we have decided that all maintenance and upkeep work for the toilets will be given to an expert agency under the ‘one city, one operator’ scheme. On our part we have taken up renovation of 54 toilets so far. Although we have lesser budget available, we are trying to keep up with other bigger cities,” he added.
For the financial year 2020-21, the civic agency had recently proposed in its revised budget an expenditure of about ₹983 crore against income of about ₹1,011 crore.