A dysfunctional waste processing plant, slow progress in legacy mining and segregation at source still to be fully achieved — all these factors pushed the City Beautiful further down the Swachh Survekshan rankings.
Ranked 8 among cities with more than 10 lakh population last year, Chandigarh dropped to 16th position in rankings announced for 2021 by the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs on Saturday.
Over all, the city stands at 66th position out of 4,320 cities that were covered in various categories this year. Indore in Madhya Pradesh and Surat in Gujarat continue to rank top two cleanest cities in the country, and Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh is third. In the tricity, Mohali is ranked 357 and Panchkula 488.
In addition to the rankings, the Chandigarh’s total score has also fallen sharply. Surat scored 93% this year against last year’s 94%, while Chandigarh’s score fell sharply from 82% to 71%.
The Swachh Survekshan is conducted to study the progress of Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) and rank cities based on cleanliness and sanitation parameters.
Three parameters were used for arriving at the overall ranking of a city – certification (1800), service level progress (2,400) and citizen voice (1,800).
On a positive, Chandigarh bagged the award for best performing Union Territory under the “Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge” for 2021.
What dragged the city down
The municipal corporation’s poor solid waste management, particularly waste segregation and disposal, led to continued poor showing of the city.
The city’s GFC certification was downgraded from 3-star to 1-star.
The MC has failed to start of work on the upgradation of the beleaguered solid waste processing plant. In June last year, the civic body had taken over the plant from Jaypee Group due to its inability to process the waste completely.
But since then, the MC has neither improved the plant’s working nor upgraded the technology and most of the daily waste is still being dumped at the Dadumajra landfill.
The city produces 550 to 600 metric tons (MT) of waste daily. Of this, around 200 MT is dry waste, 150 MT is wet (kitchen) waste, 75MT is mixed and 100-125 MT is horticulture. However, the plant’s current waste processing capacity is only 70-80 MT.
Meanwhile, of the total legacy waste of 5 lakh MT, only around 2 lakh MT (40%) has been removed as yet. The work originally was to complete in May this year, but the deadline has been extended to August 2023.
Though, the MC twin-bin door-to-door garbage collection vehicles now cover over 85% of the city, but the segregation at source still remains a big challenge.
‘Money has gone down the drain’
Former Chandigarh MP and Congress national treasure Pawan Kumar Bansal said: “It is appalling that a city which was cleanest in the country now languishes at rank 66. BJP has failed to even perform the primary duty of keeping the city clean. So much money has gone down the drain but this is what the BJP has to show for city’s basic need of sanitation.”
Mayor Ravi Kant Sharma said: “For a long time, our garbage disposal and waste processing plant related issues remained stuck at the National Green Tribunal. Thus, our endeavors like setting up a new plant and introducing two-bin waste-lifting vehicles were in progress when this survey was conducted for the period of April 2020 to March 2021. But now these have been streamlined and next year our performance will improve markedly.”