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Incompetent Surveyors, Exaggerated Claims: CSE Slams Modi Govt’s Swachh Survekshan 2019

CSE said the survey was hurriedly completed in 28 days to release the results before the Model Code of Conduct comes into force.

An analysis by environmental think-tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has revealed that the findings of the Swachh Survekshan 2019 has been “diluted” due to “political expediency”. It pointed out that the survey was conducted in merely 28 days so that the results can be released before the Model Code of Conduct for Lok Sabha Polls comes into force. In 2018, the survey had taken 66 days.

The survey is conducted by the Ministry of Urban Housing Affairs (MoHUA). It was started in 2016 in order to report and rank the performance of cities on sanitation and solid waste management.

The CSE said the government did not use adequate numbers of expert and qualified surveyors and certifiers to visit cities for data collection and observation.

The surveyors reportedly did not even visit every city that they claimed to have assessed. CSE underlined that they visited only six-seven of the 26 cities that were rated in Bihar. The remaining 20 cities shared documents and pictures on the online portal on the basis of which the assessment was made.

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“In fact, many state urban departments and city administrations have raised their concerns about the incompetence of the surveyors,” the think tank reportedly said.

According to CSE, the segregation of waste levels have reached only about 40 per cent and waste processing is not more than 30 per cent across the country. In sharp contrast, the MoHUA, based on the latest survey claimed that the country-wide segregation of waste at source has increased to 60 per cent and waste processing has gone up to 52 per cent. The claims, therefore, are over-exaggerated, CSE noted.

Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE, reportedly said, “Over the last four years, the number of cities covered under the survey has increased manifold – from 73 cities in 2016 to 4,237 in 2019. The methodology has been modified to give more weightage to sustainable waste management practices instead of mere cleanliness. But the 2019 survey has again rewarded cleanliness over sustainable waste management, thereby defeating the purpose behind this exercise.”

The analysis highlighted that in the top 50 cities, only Madhya Pradesh’s Indore, Karnataka’s Mysuru and Chhattisgarh’s Ambikapur have segregation levels of over 80 per cent. Further, the survey also ranked — New Delhi Municipal Council, GVMC Visakhapatnam and Chandrapur, Ambernath, Wardha, Vasai Vihar, Pune and Latur in Maharashtra — higher, however, these cities have segregation levels between 20-39 per cent only.

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Several cities in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Sikkim and Bihar which are doing commendable work on sustainable waste management were in the bottom of the Swachh Survekshan 2019 list, according to the analysis. Ranked below 300, Alappuzha, Thiruvananthapuram and Panaji, have reportedly invested in decentralised waste- processing techniques.

The Swachh Survekshan awards were conferred by President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony in New Delhi on March 6 in which Indore was adjudged the country’s cleanest city for a third straight year.
(With PTI inputs)
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