Swachh Bharat and Dilemma of Dehradun

By Nitin Chandola

Dehradun’s decline in Swachh Bharat Sarvekshan 2017 was a shocking moment for the city residents. The failure of “to be Smart city” in the factor of cleanliness made us clear about the current condition of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan in Dehradun. The Swachh Bharat index 2017 was completely based on the rate of open defecation and solid waste management in the city. Attainment of 316th position out of 434 in 2017th Swachh Bharat indexing easily shows that implementation of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in Dehradun city is at its worst. Where in June 2017, Uttarakhand was announced as open defecation free, there is doubt on the correctness of this report. The Swachh Bharat Sarvekshan of 2017 easily depicts that former state government of 2016 was insensitive towards city’s cleanliness. The city’s MLA’s were irresponsible at the Abhiyan’s front with an equal contribution of city’s municipal corporation. But, how it is possible to announce the whole state as open defecation free in just three months after the new government took place in the state?

The Swachh Bharat Sarvekshan of 2017 easily depicts that former state government of 2016 was insensitive towards city’s cleanliness. The city’s MLA’s were irresponsible at the Abhiyan’s front with an equal contribution of city’s municipal corporation. But, how it is possible to announce the whole state as open defecation free in just three months after the new government took place in the state?

dehradun lower rankings in swachh bharat indexingCommonly, Rispana and Bindal Rivers are full of foul smell due to open defecation and solid waste dumping. The immigrants of labor class from U.P, Bihar, and Haryana finds the idea of using toilets to defecate indefinite as they regularly have to shift to other cities in search of earnings. There are many slums in Uttarakhand’s plains, i.e, Haridwar, Dehradun, Rudrapur, Udham Singh Nagar and Haldwani, which are suffering from the narrowness of open defecation. Considering the city Dehradun, where there is a huge amount of sewage disposal in Rispana, Suswa and Bindal River, it is impossible to declare the state Open Defecation free. Many of the hilly and remote areas of the state are still facing the problem of open defecation. Tribes of Munshyari, Jaunsar are still practicing open defecation due to loopholes in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Hence, the suspicion on reports of Uttarakhand Government is obvious.

Considering the city Dehradun, where there is a huge amount of sewage disposal in Rispana, Suswa and Bindal River, it is impossible to declare the state Open Defecation free. Many of the hilly and remote areas of the state are still facing the problem of open defecation. Tribes of Munshyari, Jaunsar are still practicing open defecation due to loopholes in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Hence, the suspicion on reports of Uttarakhand Government is obvious.

Dehradun’s second consecutive failure of 2017 in Swachh Bharat indexing is also the result of open dumping practices in the region. The open Dump yard of Sahatradhara remained the center of discussion in major media and newspaper of 2016. The alternative green and sustainable solid waste management dumping station to be opened in Premnagar by JNNURM which shows a way out of pungent smell of which the localities in Sahastradhara road are suffering since a decade. But with a daily disposal of 350 metric tonnes approx. the city will still be suffering from solid waste disposal problems.

Most of the solid waste in the city is collected by Nagar Nigam, Dehradun is disposed to the local dustbins by the municipality’s door to door waste collection facilities but, in outskirts of the main city main areas which are not under Nagar Nigam’s area of interest those localities find no possible way to dispose of the solid wastes. Hence the rivers like Song, Rispana, and Bindal are the alternative of dustbins. These methods are not only choking the lifeline of the main city but also marks an important question on the lifestyle to which well-educated citizens are heading to.

NGOs in the city are making their efforts to revive the condition of rivers as far as solid waste management. But, most of NGOs making effort are far less than registered in the government files. Inactive NGOs are suspects of the breeding hub for corrupt practices in politics and administration. Hence, it is the need of the present that citizens of Dehradun must get Smart in sense of solid waste disposal management. The knowledge of self-segregation of organic and inorganic waste and its method of disposal is a must. Wsegregation dustbins installed in dehradunith millions spent nationally on advertising Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiative, expenditure on advancing the surveying method for regional open defecation must be increased to make technological advancements.

Tourist places like George Everest and Cloud End are prone to the failure of Swachh Bharat initiative as there is a large flux of Tourists in these places. The effect of tourists visiting in these places is severe to environmental conditions, as they lack in sentiments like that of the residents of these regions. Another factor that makes tourists less friendly to the environment is their lack of civic sense. This doesn’t mean that we should restrict or regulate our tourism, this can be the step of utmost ignorance. Instead, the government should initiate the movement to aware the tourists and visitors to behave well to flora and fauna.

Another factor that will be the dark patch on the history of Dehradun city will be the unsustainably planned Rispana Valley riverfront project. In the era of former CM Harish Rawat, the Rispana riverfront project was proposed by MDDA which was approved in the influence of Legislative. Assembly election of 2017. Though present CM Trivendra Singh Rawat has set up an inquiry on the riverfront project, his interest in this project is still a problem to the city’s geographic system. In prior reports on Rispana riverfront project, one can find that the planned riverfront project is not like Sabarmati riverfront. The sewer will be the part of the river, which will be underground. The sewer treatment plant will be the part of the riverfront which is to be established at the banks of Rispana River.

Due to this step not only did the Rispana will shrink in size by excessive construction but also become prone to seasonal floods in the main city. As far as the progress regarding the smart city is concerned, Rispana Valley riverfront project is the only concerned plan which is developed under MDDA. After a drastic failure of the master plan of Dehradun, there is the basic concern of illegal acquirement of agricultural land by property and land mafias.

The designation of “open defecation free State” to Uttarakhand seems to be a foul decision by the departments of Uttarakhand Government as in Dehradun most of the open defecating population can be seen near to Rispana, Bindal, and Suswa’s banks. The established slums at the basin of these tributaries of the Ganges are not only prone to malpractices of open defecation but also are breeding site of diseases for the local residents.

By Including the cleanliness of local rivers, by providing optimized methods of curbing the practice of open dumping and open defecation is need of today.  The political parties’ needs to understand the critical condition of slums affected areas of Dehradun. There is a sincere need of active participation of both opposition and Ruling party to accomplish the very objective of Clean India movement. The inclusion of educated society in awakening the working class about the cleanliness is a must. Till then, if the political ill will of generating vote bank exists, it is sure to lag behind in any progressive front.

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