Indore, Madhya Pradesh,
The Swacch Bharat Abhiyan in the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh has helped the citizens in more ways than one. First, it has made the city clean and galvanized all sections of society in a unity of purpose to keep their homes, offices, shopping centres and bazars clean; but more importantly it has had a salutary effect on the health of the people.
According to officials of Indore Municipal Corporation, which piloted the cleanliness drive with an unprecedented zeal and professional approach in last three year, the positive impact of the Swacch Mission has resulted in decline in “respiratory and other diseases by about 50 per cent”.
“We all spoke about Acchey Din (Good Days) in 2014. People still ridicule the slogan in social network. But come to Indore and you find what’s Acchey Din. The city is cleaner and healthier. Even our Sabzi Mandis offer a different view,” says Indore Municipal Corporation ‘safaimitra’ Dinesh Kumar.
The observation should not be dismissed as mere rhetoric as the city has come up a long way from being placed 150th in a cleanliness ranking of India’s cities in 2014 to Number 1 in 2017. In between, the city had leaped to the 25th position in 2016.
“It’s doable and we did it,” Asad Warsi of Eco Pro Environmental Services, consultant to the Indore Municipal Corporation, told.
Indore Municipal Corporation officials say the “swift progress” was possible due corporation’s efforts and people’s involvement to improve garbage collection, and make the city bin-free and open-defecation free (ODF).
In terms of health paradigm, studies, according to municipal corporation, show- while there were 160 cases of dengue in 2014, it came down to 129 in 2016 and dropped to ‘zero’ in 2017.
“Similarly, there was decline in cases of other diseases too. Malaria cases dropped from 89 to 13 in 2017, typhoid 1955 to 467, swine flu 10 to zero in 2017,” says Mr Warsi.Studies have shown that in case of viral fever the figures dropped from 46,260 in 2014 to 9,169 in 2017. In case of cholera, the figure rose from 12 in 2014 to 27 in 2015 but dropped to zero in 2017.
“I am most grateful to all stake holders of the Indore city. Our corporators, safaimitras, the citizens of Indore, all have contributed to make Indore Number One,” says Malini Gaur, Mayor of Indore. Answering questions, she says, public awareness actually helped achieve the milestone.
As a result, she says when the Union Urban Development ministry released the findings of the Swachh Survekshan survey in May 2017, of the 434 cities on various parameters including waste collection, Open Defecation Status and individual observation, Indore was ranked numero uno.
The survey by the central government aims to monitor the progress of the Swachh Bharat Mission, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with much fanfare in 2014 to make India clean and open-defecation free by 2019.
Since the launch of the Swachh Bharat mission, Indore Municipal Corporation has covered all of its wards with door-to-door solid waste collection, instituted waste segregation, and installed tracking devices for garbage trucks.
“Seeing is believing. If BJP government can showcase Indore’s cleanliness as one of its key achievements, probably it can tackle the argument of its detractors that the party did not perform well,” says an enthusiastic BJP supporter Pravin Sabherwal in a residential colony.”I shifted to this city from Kanpur, five years back for job with a real estate firm; now I have decided to settle down here,” he declares.