In a bid to encourage competition to improve sanitation and waste disposal standards, the government conducted a survey, called Swachh Survekshan-2017, ranking 500 cities in the country on different parameters of cleanliness. While 25 cities in Uttar Pradesh stood among the bottom 100, Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency, rose to the thrity second spot in the rankings from its 2014 placing of 418.
According to Avinash Kumar, a nodal officer in Varanasi for Swachh Survekshan, improved waste management practices, a push to become open-defecation-free (ODF) and public feedback helped the city perform well in the survey.
The city’s municipal corporation, Kumar says, has ensured that 550 tonnes solid waste generated everyday in 90 wards of Varanasi is collected door-to-door and brought to solid waste management plant for segregation and disposal.
Maintaining cleanliness in 84 ghats along the Ganga, a herculean task for any agency, has also helped according to Kumar.
The city has seen construction of at least 8,540 individual toilets and installation of over 3,000 dustbins. Over 26 wards have been made ODF already and rest of the wards are expected to attain ODF status by 30 September 2017. Over 126 urinals and 153 public toilets have been built across the city and a waste-to-power plant has been constructed where 5 tonnes waste generates 300kW every day.
It was from Varanasi that Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission in November 2014. His efforts seem to have yielded promising results in his constituency.
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