No city from J&K gets any top rank in Swachh Sarvekshan 2018

The Swachh Sarvekshan 2018 results for ‘cleanliest cities' under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan were declared by Hardeep Puri, Union Urban Affairs Minister, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Indore emerged as the overall ‘cleanest city' of the country, followed by Bhopal and Chandigarh. Jharkhand is ranked as the ‘cleanest State', followed by Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.

The various initiatives were taken by the Jammu and Kashmir government to improve sanitary conditions of the state, and consequently the ranking in the survey, but we still lag in some areas and public participation to fulfil our mission of making Jammu and Kashmir State immaculate. The state has not found a place in the winners' list announced by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) as we seem to be in the process of amping up our efforts.

About the Survey
With the launch of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan in 2014, the cities and states are assessed every year, on the basis of their Swachh quotient, from building toilets to waste collection and management. The Abhiyaan aims to achieve 100% Open Defecation Free (OFD) India, by October 2, 2019. The third Swachh Survekshan, conducted by Quality Council of India (QCI), assessed 4,203 cities as against 434 cities in 2017.

• The survey attempts to capture the progress and effectiveness of the Abhiyaan, through 6 broad parameters:
-Collection and Transportation of Municipal Solid Waste,
-Processing and Disposal of Municipal Solid Waste,
-Sanitation Related Progress,
-IEC (Information, Education and Communication),
-Capacity Building,
-Innovation and Best Practices.

• The rankings are based on the data provided by municipal corporations, independent assessors and feedback from people.

Awards were announced in various categories:
-Overall National Level Award for cleanest cities
-National Level Awards for cleanest cities according to population (1-3 Lakh, 3-10 Lakh, 10 Lakh and more)
-Zonal Level Awards
-Cleanest Capital cities/Union Territories
-Best performing States
-Best Cantonment Boards
-Special awards for innovation and best practices, citizen feedback, solid waste management, fastest mover

Where is the State heading after 3 years of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan?

Performing poorly in Swachh Sarvekshan 2016, the State had improved its ranking in 2017, when Leh was adjudged as the cleanest city from the State, ranked at the 100th position. Srinagar stood at 241 and Jammu at 251, last year. The State Government has worked to improve and attain the ‘cleanest city' of the country award, but neither the State nor any of its cities appear as the ‘cleanest' in the pan-India survey.

Unfortunately, Jammu and Kashmir is presently one of those states which fare poorly in terms of cleanliness, according to the Swachh Sarvekshan reports, consequently remaining largely prone to diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, etc. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan appears to be less effective in the State, although the rate of efforts being made for the same, is slowly on the rise. The authorities and the citizens, collectively, need to be on their toes, if they are to initiate a 180-degree turn for the State's cleanliness and hygiene.



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Harry Walia