Ground Reality of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in Uttarakhand

By Kushagra Mittal

The twenty-first century, oldest civilization, world’s largest democracy, and second-most populated nation. What comes to your mind when you read such eye-catching adjectives for your country? Is it ‘developed’, ‘literate’, ‘superpower’? The reality is indeed very far from it. In spite of being the world’s largest democracy and second most populated nation, we are struggling to eradicate the tag of ‘unclean’ country that has been given to us and we cannot deny it.

Uttarakhand, being one of the holiest states in India, marking its presence in ‘Shastras’ as ‘the land of gods’ neglected to such an extent that its capital, Dehradun could not mark a better position than the  316 among 434 cities assessed on cleanliness index under the annual Swachh Bharat Survey conducted by the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India. Dehradun has been overexploited since Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar-Pradesh in November 2000.  The town which was once known for its beauty and cleanliness has now emerged as an unclean, untidy city in the sake of boost in the commercialized development since the early twenty-first century. Every government, be the one when Dehradun was a part of Uttar-Pradesh or the one after having been given a separate state status, has failed to administer the state acutely. They have failed to understand what does the ‘Dev Bhoomi’ requires. It is a gift from the governments that Uttarakhand is better known for the scams than the scenic beauty. Had the government officials, Nagar Nigam and Panchayats honestly performed and administered their duties, Dehradun would have been far ahead in the ‘Swacchta race’.swachh bahrat abhiyan in nagar nigam

When it comes to cleanliness, the government has a limited role to play. Ultimately,  the citizens have to co-operate and join hands together with the authorities to ensure the successful implementation of the scheme, but this does not free the authorities from their duties. The initiative which started as a government scheme in 2014 has boosted to such an extent that today it has become a people’s movement.  Now, the matter to think over is that when the movement is proactive under the government scheme as well as social awareness drives, where did Dehradun lag in the survey? One of the reasons behind it is open defecation, which is a sad reality in rural as well as urban India till date. Every morning hundreds of people run towards the railway tracks and on the river banks to defecate in public, which is one of the factors that the ministry of Urban Development judges the cities upon. The cities which were once believed to be the dirtiest in the country, have proved the nation wrong and topped the list of the swachh cities in India. One such city is Indore, Madhya-Pradesh.

From being placed 149th in the cleanliness ranking of India’s cities in 2014, Indore Municipal Corporation climbed to 25th position in 2016 and to the top of the heap in 2017. This swift progress was aided by the Municipal Corporation’s genuine efforts to turn Indore, garbage and open defecation free. So, what did the authorities in Indore do, which Dehradun Municipal Corporation has failed to achieve? The answer is terrifying. Indore Municipal Corporation worked with six NGOs and their teams to construct 12549 individual toilets, more than 200 urinals, near about 190 community and public toilets, 400 modular and 16 mobile toilet in a period of one year. Apart from this, the civic body ran many different programs to create social awareness related to cleanliness and use of toilets. NGOs came up with effective programs such as ‘roko-toko’ and ‘Dabba-Gang’ movements under which they urged the residents to stop people from going put in the open by making noise with the dabbas they carried. A planned movement in the heart of India touched the heart of the locals and proved to be foolproof. Government in Uttarakhand on the other hand has been coming up with the acts of scams since 2010, when for the first time in Indian history people got familiar with the ‘toilet scam’ in Mahakumbh at Haridwar. The corrupt authorities were accused to of lying to the government about building some thousand of permanent toilets for the devotees, which in reality did not exist. As a result of which, millions of people from across the country who gathered in the holy town of Haridwar defecated in public, inviting hazardous diseases to themselves. For a meagre amount of money, the officials put the life of millions devotees as well as the residents at stake. It seemed that money-saving was their only priority. To the matter of fact and surprise, when the capital of Uttarakhand, Dehradun lies far behind than many big cities from across India in the swachh

swacha bharat abhiyan in dehradunThe corrupt authorities were accused to of lying to the government about building some thousand of permanent toilets for the devotees, which in reality did not exist. As a result of which, millions of people from across the country who gathered in the holy town of Haridwar defecated in public, inviting hazardous diseases to themselves. For a meagre amount of money, the officials put the life of millions devotees as well as the residents at stake. It seemed that money-saving was their only priority. To the matter of fact and surprise, when the capital of Uttarakhand, Dehradun lies far behind than many big cities from across India in the swachh sarvekshan. The rural Uttarakhand was declared open defecation free (ODF) in June this year. Dehradun, in which millions of dollars are spent every year to exploit every natural aspect of it in the name of development, has still failed to compete with its own rural areas. According to the official reports, only 13 out of 60 wards could have been declared ODF in Dehradun, which are all rural. Hundred percent target to get Dehradun free from the bars of the open defecation and consequently achieving a better position in the swachh

Dehradun, in which millions of dollars are spent every year to exploit every natural aspect of it in the name of development, has still failed to compete with its own rural areas. According to the official reports, only 13 out of 60 wards could have been declared ODF in Dehradun, which are all rural. Hundred percent target to get Dehradun free from the bars of the open defecation and consequently achieving a better position in the swachh sarvekshan cannot be achieved by the authorities and the government understand the root of the problem. Dehradun has a large population of poor immigrants. The laborers from eastern Uttar-Pradesh and Bihar migrate to Dehradun to earn better wages. If, in spite of having worked against the open defecation and carrying the awareness drives for the same, Dehradun is lying behind its own neighbouring areas, it clearly indicates that work done by the Nagar Nigam and government have not been up to the mark. The immigrants and slums contribute to most of the open defecation in the capital. The NGOs that have been taking money from the government in the name of Swacchta drives and the government itself are making money behind the curtains and making fooling people. They actually fail to understand that it is no more a small-scale scheme that people do not care about much, but it is a mass movement and some locals across Dehradun are themselves taking the initiative to help the poor build toilets with their own money. It is a bitter slap on the faces of the two. The NGOs have failed to create awareness in the town regarding the health hazards of  open defecation. A large population of people still have no option other than to defecate in open. It is a bitter reality that no one can deny. The laziness on the part of government and the temperament of making money has brought this  shame to Dehradun. The town once known for its beauty is now known as a town of large-scale open defecation. Had the government really worked, Dehradun would not have been ranked this bad in the annual survey. The myth has been broken and the government, the local bodies and the residents have to wake up from ‘their’ dream to the world against open defecation the swachh drive in the town. Unless  people join hands with the government, the goal to eradicate the filth and making Dehradun ‘Swacch’ cannot be significantly achieved. Like a competent, with true competitive spirit the officials and the locals should learn from cities like Indore and Bhopal and study their plan of action to mark the first place in the swachh sarvekshan. It is no one man’s work to mark 1

The NGOs have failed to create awareness in the town regarding the health hazards of open defecation. A large population of people still have no option other than to defecate in open. It is a bitter reality that no one can deny. The laziness on the part of the government and the temperament of making money has brought this embarrassment to Dehradun. The town once known for its beauty is now known as a town of large-scale open defecation. Had the government really worked, Dehradun would not have been ranked this bad in the annual survey. The myth has been broken and the government, the local bodies and the residents have to wake up from ‘their’ dream to the world against open defecation the swachh drive in the town. Unless people join hands with the government, the goal to eradicate the filth and making Dehradun ‘Swacch’ cannot be significantly achieved. Like a competent, with true competitive spirit, the officials and the locals should learn from cities like Indore and Bhopal and study their plan of action to mark the first place in the swachh sarvekshan. It is no one man’s work to mark 1

Like a competent, with true competitive spirit, the officials and the locals should learn from cities like Indore and Bhopal and study their plan of action to mark the first place in the swachh sarvekshan. It is no one man’s work to mark 1st position from the 149th position in just 2 years. The immigrants and the illiterates have to be made aware regarding the swachh drive and urge them to give up going in open. A better  position is impossible to achieve until we create awareness among the locals and the immigrants, educating them the benefits of cleanliness. Though the movement has no doubt become a mass movement, yet it lacks the enthusiasm in the town that it should carry. People will have to start treating the town as their own. This town belongs to an immigrant as much as it belongs to the resident. It is the duty of a resident to make an immigrant aware and it is the duty of an immigrant to  extrapolate the change for his own betterment and overall development of the country. A much  better rank is not a dream, it can be achieved by the equal contribution of each individual. The government and the NGOs will have to work effectively in building as many toilets as set for target and then every individual along with the authority will have to put his hands together to work to spread awareness against open defecation and urge them to use  toilets instead. Let us all, the children of this holy land put our hands together with the authorities and urge every individual around us to work in the direction to climb to, a better, much better rank in the next swacchta sarveskshan. Let us complete the target and take a step forward in this direction to make our loving town, Dehradun, a world class smart city.

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