One of the yardsticks of a country’s development is its cleanliness for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He had this in mind while launching the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) 18 months ago.
In the first survey after its launch, Mysuru in Karnataka state has retained the top spot as India’s cleanest city out of 73 cities with a population of 1 million or more.
It is followed by Chandigarh (best in north zone), Tiruchirapalli and New Delhi’s NDMC (best among Smart Cities). Interestingly, Varanasi from where Modi contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections comes in at rank 65. Four cities – Visakhapatnam, Surat, Rajkot and Gangtok – entered the Top 10 list while Navi Mumbai, Chennai, Pune and Nashik have dropped out.
India five dirtiest cities are Meerut, Patna, Itanagar, Asansol and Dhanbad.
Results are based on the marks scored with respect to the components of the Swachh Bharat Mission. This includes availability of infrastructure and service levels related to sanitation such as individual household toilets, public and community toilets and collection, transportation and processing of municipal solid waste.
Rajkot in Gujarat has been the best performer in door-to-door collection and transportation of solid waste and sweeping.
Based on the comparison of the marks and ranks of the survey with an earlier one done before the launch of the mission, Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said: “Cities from South and West continue to do well over all but those in other parts of the country, and particularly in the North, are beginning to catch up with the traditional leaders.”
The mission aims to accomplish the vision of a “Clean India” by Oct. 2 2019, the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.
Specific objectives are: elimination of open defecation, conversion of unsanitary toilets to pour flush toilets, eradication of manual scavenging, 100% collection and processing/disposal/reuse/recycling of municipal solid waste and a behavioral change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices.