Mysore is ranked India’s cleanest city, the government said Monday, as it announced the results of a survey to measure the success of a program to improve sanitation in the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, or Clean India Mission, in October 2014, with the aim to eradicate open defecation, build 1.1 million toilets and clean up public places, among other things.
The list, unveiled by the urban development ministry at a news conference in New Delhi on Monday, includes 73 cities, including 53 with a population of over 1 million people.
City administrations were marked for the way they manage solid waste, how many toilets they have built and the success of their sanitation strategy and how well they have communicated it to the public.
Mysore, a city in the southern state of Karnataka, was followed in the cleanly list by the northern city of Chandigarh, Tiruchirappalli in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, and the country’s notoriously polluted capital, New Delhi.
The council used data from 25 teams of surveyors who visited 42 locations in each city, including railway and bus stations, religious places, markets, residential areas and toilet complexes. The survey teams took more than 3,066 photos, the release said.
More than 100,000 ordinary citizens also offered their opinions. The results of the survey show participants were asked whether the city was always clean, if there were dustbins, and the availability of toilets.
Greater Mumbai, which includes the cities of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane, came 10th. In January, one of the city’s vast rubbish dumps caught fire, leaving a trail of smoke for days that could be seen from space.
Mr. Modi’s home constituency of Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh, came 65th out of the 73 cities. The prime minister holds the parliamentary seat for Varanasi but his Bharatiya Janata Party doesn’t control the state government. The sacred Ganges river flows through the city and Hindu pilgrims make trips to there to bathe in its waters.
The worst performer was Dhanbad in the eastern state of Jharkhand, which came bottom of the cities surveyed.
The city is known as the coal capital of India and is home to some of the country’s largest reserves. Coal dust blows across the city from open cast mines that stretch over the surrounding area.
The Swachh Survekshan survey was commissioned by the Ministry of Urban Development and was conducted by the Quality Council of India.
Of the total marks for each city, 60% were assigned for solid waste management, 30% for toilet construction and 5% each for sanitation strategy and “behavior change communication,” a news release from the ministry of Urban development said.
Launching the Clean India program in 2014, Mr. Modi said, “I myself will set out with a broom and contribute towards this pious task.”
The initiative, set up in honor of independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, aims to “create a Clean India” by 2019 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his birth. It was expected to cost around $10.1 billion over five years.
One of its main objectives is to get more people to use toilets. Around half of India’s population still goes to the toilet in the open, in part because of a lack of latrines but also because of a cultural preference in some cases for going to the bathroom out of doors.
By December 2016, some 400 cities in India will be open defecation free, a tweet on the verified account of the Press Information Bureau said Monday.
Top 10 Cleanest Cities:
Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu
Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
Pimpri Chinchwad, Maharashtra
Greater Mumbai, Maharashtra
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh
Meerut, Uttar Pradesh
Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh
Asansol, West Bengal
–Niharika Mandhana contributed to this article.
Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Tiruchirappalli and Visakhapatnam. It also in one instance incorrectly said that 73 countries were ranked instead of 73 cities.
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“A small village in the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya has become the envy of its neighbours. Large crowds of visitors have been thronging to the village curious to find out why Mawlynnong has earned the reputation for being arguably the cleanest and best educated in India – all its residents can read and write and each house has a toilet”.
Discover India magazine declared Mawlynnong as the cleanest village in Asia in 2003
For the villagers, cleanliness is next to Godliness. Photo: BBC
“About 90km from the state capital Shillong and barely 4km from the Bangladeshi border, Mawlynnong is much loved by its inhabitants who work hard to keep it clean”.
“The streets are all dotted with dustbins made of bamboo. Every piece of litter and almost every leaf that has fallen from a tree is immediately discarded. Plastic is completely banned and all waste disposal is environmentally friendly. Rubbish is thrown into a pit dug in a forest near the village where it is left to turn into compost”.
“The villagers here say that lessons in hygiene start in school so that children can be taught from an early age how to keep their surroundings clean and green”.
“There is a fine imposed by the village council for anybody found to be throwing litter around or cutting trees […] says village headman Thomlin Khongthohrem. Children are taught to collect litter at an early age. “Besides, the council carries out strict inspections of the sanitation facilities in each house”.
Experts attribute the village’s cleanliness an effective local governance system, a matrilineal society which makes women economically more powerful, and the local inhabitants’ respect for nature. Mawlynnong’s reputation for cleanliness has made it a popular destination for tourists. The Meghalaya state government is promoting eco-tourism in the area but the locals, who have a “fierce sense of self-determination”, are resisting this.
Source: Jyotsna Singh, BBC, 25 Sep 2009
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