New Delhi, May 4: Indore and Bhopla in Madhya Pradesh have been tagged as India’s cleanest cities by the nationwide cleanliness survey by the urban development ministry has found.
This third edition of the survey of 434 cities, conducted as part of the central government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, was released on Thursday by Union Urban Development Minister, M Venkaiah Naidu.
Bhopal, another city in MP, achieved the second position in the survey, a giant leap for the state capital from last year’s 21st rank. The remaining three cities among the top five are Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Surat in Gujarat, and Mysuru in Karnataka, which slipped from last year’s top position.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area where 1.5 % of New Delhi’s 16.78 million resident live, slipped to the seventh position, dropping three places from last year. While Delhi Cantonment is ranked 172, the east, south and north municipal corporation areas are at 196, 202 and 279 places, respectively.
In the national capital region except Faridabad, ranked 88, none of Delhi’s neighbours are among the 100 cleanest cities. Gurgaon, where around 250 Fortune 500 companies are based, is ranked 112 while Ghaziabad is way down at 351, a stark reminder that infrastructure is struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of urbanisation in the country.
India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh is also among the unclean states, with 50 of its 62 surveyed districts ranking below 300. The holy city of Varanasi, which is also Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency, is the only exception. It ranked 32, which can be considered as a sharp improvement from 2014 when it was right down at the bottom, ranking 418 out of 476 cities.
One of the oldest living cities in the world, Varanasi has got more than Rs 20,000 crore since 2014 to upgrade its rundown infrastructure, an indication of the effort and money it would require to improve India’s urban landscape.
In terms of cleanliness, North India continues to fare poorly. Of the 10 dirtiest cities five are in Uttar Pradesh, two each in Bihar and Punjab and one in Maharashtra. Gonda, a town in Uttar Pradesh, is the dirtiest at 434. Bhusawal in Maharashtra is a rank above. Bihar’s Bagaha is at number 432, Hardoi in UP 431 and Bihar’s Katihar at 430. It also points to the problem the authorities face in informing people about the link between sanitation and public health.
Launched in 2014, the Swachh Bharat campaign aims to make India clean and open-defecation free by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi. 2017 Swachh Survekshan (Cleanliness Survey) was carried out during January and February.
Cities were evaluated on five parameters – waste collection, solid-waste management, construction of toilets, sanitation strategies and behaviour change communication. The rankings are based on the data provided by municipal corporations, independent assessors and feedback from people. In all, 3.7 million citizens participated in the exercise.