Our Poll is National Headline
NEW DELHI: In what could be a wake-up call for the Centre to fix weaknesses in the Swachh Bharat initiative, nearly 71% respondents in an online poll conducted by a social media group feel cleanliness in their cities and towns has not improved much in the past one year and want a greater municipal-citizen connect.
The online poll on "local circles", which has over 3 lakh participants, provides a strong feedback that municipalities need a big technology and skill upgrade and need to improve actual delivery of sanitation services at the ground level. Involving citizens in the cleanliness drives as well as in advocacy will also help, the poll indicates.
Swachh Bharat mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2 last year.
The poll has brought to light the big gap in capacity of municipal bodies, which are primarily responsible for collection, transportation and treatment of both solid and liquid waste in urban areas.
According to the poll, 94% respondents felt municipal bodies need a major upgrade in skills, processes, equipment system and leadership as well. Some 96% felt municipal and city leaders should connect with citizens for the success of Swachh Bharat mission.
A senior government official said the findings of such surveys will help in planning the next course of action. "Efforts are being made to sensitize the municipal authorities and we have been monitoring the progress. It's a time taking programme. We are providing technical and financial assistance to urban local bodies to implement the scheme," the official added.
According to latest government data, 1.42 lakh tonnes of solid waste was generated per day in urban areas in July and only 15.33% of it was processed, indicating how under-equipped municipal bodies are to handle the mammoth task. They also face a problem in terms of lack of a dedicated municipal cadre that can bring qualified economists, public policy graduates, environmentalists and engineers into city administrations.
While one of the key components of the mission in urban areas to create more public toilet facilities, over three-fourth of respondents in the online poll said the availability of toilets has not increased in the one year. More than 70% of the respondents also pointed out how local municipalities are not seriously engaged in the scheme and driving the "cleanliness/ civic sense" initiatives on the ground.
Considering that cities are competing with each other to get the Smart City tag, 88% of the respondents said that municipal bodies that implement Swachh Bharat mission effectively should be considered as the key parameter for this scheme.
Even an analysis of the cities and towns that have been shortlisted for three major urban development scheme — Smart City, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation and Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana — shows how the common underlying concern is ensuring sanitation under all these programmes. Most of the urban areas have poor ranking so far their Swachh Bharat rankings are concerned.
The urban component of Swachh Bharat Mission includes construction of 1.04 crore individual household toilets, over five lakh community and public toilet seats and 100% door-to-door collection of solid waste and its transportation and disposal. more
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