Centre's new Swacchata app keeps BMC on its toes

Oct 13, 2016, 07:00 IST | Laxman Singh

Centre's new Swacchata app has got civic officials racing to clear garbage in the city within 24 hours of receiving the complaint

(Left) Picture of garbage near Apex Hospital in Borivli West uploaded by Satyam Goradia on October 8, 2016-10-12. (Right) Picture uploaded by the BMC of the spot that was cleared the same day

After downloading the app on your mobile phone, you will have to take a picture of the area where garbage has not been cleared for a while and upload it using your GPS (Global Positioning System) location. This complaint is logged on the app that is monitored by the Centre. It is then forwarded to the civic body of the city where the complaint is sent from, and the authorities concerned at the local level will have to initiate action within 24 hours.

The Swacchata app

A senior official from the BMC said, “The Swacchata app is connected to another app, which is handled by a team of local civic officials from the Solid Waste Management (SWM) department. After citizens post their complaint on the app, it gets forwarded to the engineer concerned of that particular ward.”

The official said, “The engineer will then call the complainant and note down details of the spot and initiate the clean-up work. After completing the work, civic officials will have to post pictures of the work as it is being carried out and the spot after the work has been completed.”

Quick response
The purpose of the app is to ensure faster resolution of complaints by citizens as the authorities are forced to react within a timeframe. The app can be downloaded on Android as well as iOS mobile phones.

A civic official, who did not wish to be named, said engineers have been responding in quick time to avoid getting calls from officials at the Centre who have been closely monitoring the app.

BMC says
Speaking to mid-day, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “This is a very good initiative. Citizens’ involvement will be extremely important to make this a success. People should start using this app as it will ensure that garbage is cleared immediately.”

In Mumbai, the app is moderated by an executive engineer and an assistant engineer from the solid waste management department. One of the engineers, who did not wish to be named, said, “As of now we get just 2 or 3 complaints a day on the app. We work round the clock to get the problem resolved as it will help raise Mumbai’s ratings on the Centre’s clean cities index.”

He added, “Sometimes, there are minor glitches while registering a complaint on the app. We are in touch with officials from the MoUD and have explained the problem to them.”

Mumbai at No 10

On the Swachh Sarvekshan index, that is based on six parameters (as listed below), Mumbai stood at a respectable 10 out of 73 cities surveyed between January 5 and January 20, 2016. The survey was conducted by the Quality Council of India (QCI) and covered all state capitals and 53 cities with a population of above one million.
1. Strategy for Open Defecation-Free town and Integrated Solid Waste Management (SWM)
2. Sweeping, door-to-door collection and transportation of solid waste
3. Processing and disposal of solid waste
4. Provision of public and community toilets
5. Construction of household toilets
6 .Information, education and behaviour change communication activity

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