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New Delhi: Indore is once again India’s cleanest city in the Swachh Survekshan 2020, the fifth edition of the annual cleanliness survey. The Madhya Pradesh city has topped the list for the fourth consecutive year.

It is followed by Surat in Gujarat and Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra in the second and third positions, respectively. Other cities in the top 10 are Vijayawada, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation and Vadodara. The results of the survey were announced Thursday.

For Surat and Navi Mumbai, the jump in ranks has been huge this year. While Surat had ranked 14th in 2018 and 2019, Navi Mumbai rose from the 9th position in 2018 and 7th in 2019 to becoming the 3rd cleanest city in 2020.

“Heartiest congratulations! Indore is India’s cleanest city 4th year in a row. The city & its people have shown exemplary dedication towards cleanliness. Congratulations to MP CM @ChouhanShivraj people, political leadership & Municipal Corporation for this superlative performance (sic),” Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri had tweeted.

Patna ranked at the bottom of the Swachh Survekshan 2020 list. It is preceded by East Delhi, Chennai, Kota, North Delhi, Madurai, Meerut, Coimbatore, Amritsar, Faridabad and Bruhat Bengaluru.

Patna was at the 318th rank last year. Meanwhile, East Delhi was at 240, Chennai at 61, Kota at 302, North Delhi at 282 and Meerut at 286.

“The poor ranking of Patna is primarily due to the massive construction work on sewage and drains that is being done after the city remained water-logged for a prolonged period last year. A lot of houses which had encroached upon canals have been demolished and construction of new pump houses are underway. The lockdown has slowed down work. I am sure we will perform much better next year,” Suresh Prasad Sharma, urban development minister of Bihar, told ThePrint.

Former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav has, meanwhile, blamed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the city’s low ranking, congratulating the latter for “coming first at least somewhere in the past 15 years”.

Chennai authorities were, however, unhappy with the process adopted to rank cities.

“There are two things at play here we are not satisfied with the metrics that were being taken to measure a city’s sanitation and hygiene levels. Secondly, we were a little shocked with this low ranking because on various accounts we have done so many interventions but unfortunately due to Covid-19 we lost a lot of time,” G. Prakash, commissioner, Greater Chennai Corporation, told ThePrint.

“The city ought to have got a better ranking. But we are on track now and you will be seeing a lot of improvements in the coming few months. We aim to occupy the top slots by the time the next survey is conducted.”

Meerut Municipal Commissioner Arvind Singh Chaurasiya too spoke about the new process that was adopted to scrutinise cities and said it may have affected rankings.

“Earlier, there weren’t so many different categories. Last time, our ranking was 286. This time, because they have divided the categories based on population, our ranking looks worse. We didn’t have solid waste disposal earlier, nor did we have any bylaws that deal with issues such as these. All of this was incorporated in January 2020, but the government marked December 2019 as the cut-off date,” he said.

“We have done a lot, but it has not been taken into consideration. That being said, there is still a lot left to be done such as putting up more solid waste disposal plants. Public participation is very important…and that is where we struggle a lot,” Chaurasiya told ThePrint.


Also read: PM calls for week-long garbage-free country, but India is the world’s highest waste-generator


Delhi municipal corporations fare badly

Three Delhi municipal corporations, East (46th rank), North (43rd rank) and South (31st rank), have also performed dismally.

North MCD Mayor Jai Prakash told ThePrint, “We were at the 246th rank last year while this year it is 46, so from that perspective we have shown improvement.”

He also said it is not an easy situation since there are multiple stakeholders in Delhi. “The 2,560 drains and several other sewers come under the AAP-led Delhi government who then spread silt on the roads because they don’t want us to get a good rank.”

In the Ganga town category, that includes 46 cities with a population greater than 1 lakh, Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi led the way. It is followed by Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Munger (Bihar), Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh), Haridwar (Uttarakhand), Haldia (West Bengal), Mirzapur-cum-Vindhyachal (Uttar Pradesh), Barrackpore (West Bengal), Garhmukteshwar (Uttar Pradesh) and Maheshtala (West Bengal).

At the bottom of this list is West Bengal’s Santipur, Bihar’s Buxar and Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur.

Claiming to be the largest cleanliness survey in the world, Swachh Survekshan 2020 is an annual ranking exercise by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

It aims “to encourage large scale citizen participation and create awareness among all sections of society about the importance of working together towards making towns & cities a better place to live in”.

The first survey was undertaken in 2016, where 76 cities were covered. In 2019, 4,237 cities were surveyed and this year 4,242 cities were studied in 28 days (from 4 to 31 January) with the help of digitised and paperless feedback from over 1.9 crore citizens and over 24 lakh geo-tagged photos.

With inputs from Dipak Mishra and Aneesha Bedi   


Also read: Visual, digital art showcasing Gandhi & cleanliness — inside Delhi’s Rashtriya Swachhta Kendra


 

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