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The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has declared Indore as the cleanest city among the 4203 urban local bodies (ULBs) in India during the Swachh Survekshan 2018, which was done earlier in 2018. This will be the second time in a row that the city of Indore, which is the commercial capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, has been ranked as India’s ‘cleanest city’. Indore is also the venue for most of the state government’s investment summits. It is also the constituency of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

Moreover, capital of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal, came second. This is the same position that it earlier held during the 2017 survey. How did Indore succeed in emerging as the cleanest city in order to leave behind 433 other Indian cities to be able to win the maiden ‘cleanest city’ tag for the second time in a row? There have several initiatives aimed at preventing littering and making Indore the cleanest city. ‘Swachhta aadat hai, swachhta utsav hai’ is a common refrain for the songs sung by Bollywood singer and playback Shaan for Indore Municipal Corporation’s campaign for cleanliness. The songs are played as the municipal vehicles go around collecting garbage from different households. The songs also feature as the caller tunes on the phones of municipal officials as well as the elected representatives.

The cleanliness campaign claims to have achieved around cent per cent (100%) segregation of wet as well as dry garbage at the source. There are hundreds of vehicles which collect the waste and garbage. This is then sent to transportation hub. From there it reaches the trenching grounds. Waste is gathered almost once a day from the residential areas and twice from the areas that are commercial. The Safai workers clean the streets during the night and include those at the Sarafa, which is the city’s famous night-food market to make Indore the cleanest city. The IMC has 10,000 employees and officers. Mayor Malini Gaud credits such a change to the employees as well as to the participation of locals in the campaign. She has held 400 meetings of the citizens and has given the cleanliness oath to over 4 lakh people in just the past year.

How Indore became the cleanest city

By December, the IMC began slapping spot fines ranging from Rs. 250 to Rs. 500 on those found spitting on roads, urinating in the open areas, or littering garbage. “Efforts to deter offenders have not worked in the past. We hope public shaming would work as a deterrent this time,” says the Mayor. She has also announced a plan to publish offender names in newspapers and getting them broadcast over the radio. She has gone out of her way to fine offenders personally on many occasions.

Stopping people from littering India’s cleanest city

The local government body has taken several other steps to stop people from littering. The IMC has distributed 1000 dustbins free to vehicle owners in order to encourage them not to throw waste out of their windows. The bottle shaped dustbins fit into car bottle holders and are now sold for Rs. 35 each in the city. The Indore Municipal Corporation has taken other steps too, such as employing 1000 rag pickers in order to segregate dry and wet waste and installing recycling units in gardens, hotels and marriage halls to create compost from the organic waste.

Compost pits have been built at fruit and vegetable markets, along with a biomethanation plant which has been set up at the Choitharam Mandi. The Indore Municipal Corporation has removed garbage bins that used to overflow and attracted stray animals as well as birds. They were also an eyesore. Swachhata Samitis have been set up in schools as well as colleges. Participants in religious and other such processions are encouraged to keep the streets free of litter. Moreover, public toilets have been built in big numbers.

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NEST Northeast Social Transformation Network

About NEST Northeast Social Transformation Network

North East Social Transformation (NEST) is a non-governmental body of journalists, intellectuals and academicians, who are united by a common vision viz. social transformation of India’s North East region. At the core of our shared goal is the idea of respecting diversity. Rather than endorsing ideas of nation building in the North East to make it feel more Indian, we envisage an alternative paradigm whereby North East can be made to be a part of India despite being different. It aims to inculcate confidence in the people and ensure that their interests are safeguarded in their own land. India’s North East is a land of magical beauty and bewildering diversity. This fascinating region where the mighty Brahmaputra meets the allure of Kanchendzonga, and colorful Naga tribes coexist with benevolent Buddhist monks is shrouded in mystery. With over 2000 km of border with Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh, North East India is a true frontier region. However, despite its geostrategic significance, the land and its people have, time and again, borne a disproportionate brunt of the politics of differentiation, exclusion and alienation. The consequences have been far-reaching viz. prolonged underdevelopment and resource extraction, ethnic conflict and armed insurgency. Sensitization of the national media to the need for sustainable livelihood generation, peace promotion and environment preservation in North East India, thereby paving the way for integration of the region with rest of India.
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