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HT Spotlight | Swachh Punjab a pipe dream, no city in top 100

Need to start with a clean slate Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday released the Swachh Survekshan 2017 report, ranking 434 cities on cleanliness. The third nationwide survey, which evaluated the cities on waste collection, solid waste management, construction of toilets, sanitation strategies and behaviour change communication, had no good news fro Punjab. Though 16 Punjab cities were surveyed, not a single figured among the top 100. HT puts the spotlight on the sorry state of cleanliness in major cities of the state.

punjab Updated: May 05, 2017 10:43 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
Punjab,Swachh Survekshan 2017,Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu
The third nationwide survey, which evaluated the cities on waste collection, solid waste management, construction of toilets, sanitation strategies and behaviour change communication, had no good news fro Punjab. (HT Representative Image)


Garbage disposed of in the open on a road in Bathinda. (HT Photo)

Bathinda: Owing to poor civic amenities in the city, Bathinda has secured 132nd rank among 434 cities in the Swachh Survekshan 2017.

This low rank can be attributed to lack of public toilets, shortage of cleanliness workers and no check on open defecation in the city. Out of 50 wards, only 19 have been declared open defecation-free and the city is already facing a shortage of sanitation workers. The solid waste treatment plant is also lying closed on the BathindaMansa road.

The city also lacks stormwater drainage facility, which results in waterlogging and choking of sewers during rains. The interstate bus terminus, which receives people from other towns and villages, is poorly maintained. With no proper arrangements of toilets, people urinate in the open at the bus stand.


We are yet to get the details of marks given for different aspects in the survey, but we will work to improve on our week points. The issues related to sewerage also need to be addressed.

-- Anil Garg, municipal commissioner


Garbage dumped on a service lane along the NH­1 in Ludhiana. (HT Photo)

Ludhiana: It’s been a year since the Centre announced to develop Ludhiana as a smart city, but the MC has even failed to cover open garbage dumps along national highways and internal roads in the city. In absence of public toilets, walls near the bus stand, railway station and vacant plots in markets have turned into open urinals.

The authorities seem least concerned to maintain cleanliness in areas like Sherpur and Giaspura, where the migrant population resides. Littering has become common place, as the MC has failed to install bins at most public places.

Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria, too, expressed dissatisfaction when asked about the working of MC officials. He said since the installation of a static waste compactor in 2016, four secondary dumps have been removed. “If 10 more are placed across the city, nearly 40 dumps can be done away with,” he said.

MC additional commissioner Surabhi Malik said: “Our garbage disposal plant is functional and lifting of garbage is being done properly. We are going to set up public and community toilets this year.


The city needs more static compactors to do away with garbage dumps. People should pitch in too. They should not dump garbage on vacant plots. I will talk to municipal officials to install bins at required places.

-- Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria, mayor


A dumping site overflowing with litter in a Jalandhar locality. (HT Photo)

Jalandhar: In a survey conducted by the Union urban development ministry in 2015, Jalandhar was declared the cleanest city in the state.

Two years later, even after undertaking mechanised sweeping project at a cost of Rs 30 crore for five years and purchasing sanitation equipment for Rs 3.72 crore last October, the aspiring smart city has performed dismally in Swachh Survekshan 2017.

The reason isn’t far-fetched: The municipal corporation’s failure to come up with a proper waste disposal plan.

In Wariana, the dumping ground that receives the city’s refuse is always overflowing. To accommodate the ever-increasing waste, the MC had last year bought 2.5-acre land adjoining this 14-acre dumping ground for Rs 1.2 crore. The civic body is still finding it challenging to dispose of the city’s garbage, with not even 5% being processed daily.

Also, only 29 of the 60 wards have been declared open defecation- free and the MC project of constructing 27 public and 13 community toilets is still in limbo.


Two major areas in which we are lagging behind are the number of public toilets and the mechanism for waste processing. We will soon come up with a concrete plan to work on these aspects.

-- GS Khehra, municipal commissioner


The Bhagatanwala garbage dump is a major eyesore in Amritsar. (HT Photo)

Amritsar: The recent facelift of the area surrounding the Golden Temple has failed to rid the remaining walled city of litter.

Parts of the walled city close to the Sikh shrine are in a pathetic condition. Being congested and overpopulated, these areas have been deprived of the modern solid waste management project.

The special vehicles that go for door-todoor collection cannot enter the narrow lanes. The municipal corporation also planned to execute the use of smart garbage bins in this area seven months back. The plan has not been implemented yet.

Despite being included in the list of smart cities, Amritsar still has tractortrailers carrying the garbage to the dumping site. And this site at Bhagatanwala is the biggest eyesore.

The demand to shift it to another location has become a major issue.

Apart from lack of awareness and sensitisation among residents, the negligence on the part of MC officials is apparent.

The civic body has to overcome financial crisis too in order to pay the sanitation workers timely.


 Residents, too, need to act more responsibly. For instance, many don’t give the garbage even when workers reach their doorstep, and throw it outside later. Our teams are penalising those found littering.

-- Gurlovleen Singh Sidhu,municipal commissioner


Cattle feasting on the refuse near Anardana Chowk in Patiala. (HT Photo)

Patiala: The tag of being Royal City no longer suits Patiala in the wake of Swachh Survekshan in which Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s city has been ranked 411th among 434 cities evaluated across the country.

With no door-to-door collection, garbage is seen dumped along roadsides and in vacant plots across the city and it is not uncommon to find stray cattle feeding on the refuse.

The much-needed solid waste management plant is in limbo for the past five years due to political interference, as local leaders objected setting it up at Dudhar village, where the municipal corporation has already indentified 20 acres land for the project. Deputy commissioner (DC) Kumar Amit admitted the administration lagged behind in implementing the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

“As far open defecation-free status (ODF) is concerned, some of the villages were declared ODF in the past two years, while attempts are being made to declare the Patiala district ODF by September 2017,” he said.


 The situation will not improve till the setting up of a solid waste management project. At present, garbage is being picked up from collection points and dumped in the open on Sanaur road.

-- Amarinder Bajaj, mayor


A vacant plot turned into a dumping ground in Muktsar. (HT Photo)

Muktsar:The district headquarters, which has been rechristened Sri Muktsar Sahib for its historical significance, continues to face government apathy. Performing better than just six cities of the 434 ranked under the Swachh Survekshan, Muktsar is awaiting setting up of a solid waste management plant for long.

Garbage is seen strewn around various places, even in the vicinity of the deputy commissioner’s residential camp. “The contract of about 70 employees ended this March. Due to the resultant shortage of staff, the city’s cleanliness has gone for a toss,” said municipal council president Harpal Singh Bedi. Blaming “lack of funds” for poor sanitation, Bedi said: “No one is ready to give land for dumping garbage.” At present, it is dumped on a three-acre wasteland, which is brimming with the waste.

The administration, meanwhile, sees a ray of hope in the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut). The city has been selected under this Rs 130-crore project, which aims to achieve 100% sewerage network.


 Muktsar has been selected under the Centre’s Amrut scheme for 100% sewerage network. The work will start within two months. We are also trying to get a solid waste management plant approved for the city.

-- Sumit Jarangal, deputy commissioner

First Published: May 05, 2017 08:53 IST