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Maharashtra gives damn to Modi’s Swachh Bharat

Swachh-Bharat-leadPrime Minister Narendra Modi may have launched the Swachh Bharat Abhyian with much fanfare but the city’s railway stations always look unclean. The cleanliness drive was aimed at making India clean nation by 2019, the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. Railways had taken several steps to maintain cleanliness like hiring sweepers to clean the stations. It also had imposed a penalty of Rs 500 to anybody found littering at station, platform, inside trains or tracks. However, the railway stations continue to look filthy as garbage keeps piling up in dustbins. Some of the dust bins are broken as waste can’t be put inside them.

Pan stains are visible on the bins as commuters won’t even think about disposing waste in them. Thus questions are being raised by the government’s Swach Bharat Abhyian which according to many have turned into a photo-op act.

Ravi Adne a Kandivali resident said, “Often one can see celebrities, politicians taking a broom in their hand and sweeping the streets. These acts are done by them only to garner publicity as the streets will continue to remain unclean.”

The government lacks clear roadmap about how it will achieve the mission of making India clean. Celebrities won’t be involved in the day to day cleaning of the streets as this task has to be assigned to sweepers.

Archit Dave, a Borivali resident said, “Too much of garbage is piling outside the road leading to Borivali which one of the important stations of Mumbai. Even clean up marshals were appointed to impose fines on citizens littering on the streets but their main intention was to make money instead of ensuring that cleanliness was maintained.”

Thus the onus not only lies on the government but on citizens too to make the city garbage free. Citizens often throw waste on roads and hold the government responsible for not maintaining cleanliness.

“Cleanliness cannot be only the government’s or the corporation’s prerogative, citizens and NGOs should look at the exercise of waste management as a continuous process. Though we accept it is the BMC’s job to clean the city, we are seeking citizens’ help to further the vision of ‘Clean Mumbai’,” said Seema Redkar, BMC’s officer on special duty (solid waste management).

“Under the plan, citizens can get in touch with the local ward officers by either meeting the officials or calling them and telling them about the areas in their ward that need to be cleaned. Besides manpower, BMC will also aid citizens and ALMs with the necessary equipment, Redkar added.

According to the new rules, authorised vendors and hawkers will have to make arrangements to keep waste baskets or containers for collecting litter and ensure its proper disposal.

“We had put up display boards and launched cleanliness campaigns appealing for passengers’ cooperation to keep platforms and trains clean. But this did not help much. So now, we have decided to implement provisions of the Railway Act and penalise those found littering,” a senior railway official said.

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