Mumbai: BMC wants to buy its way into Top 3 Swachhta ranking

Updated: Aug 31, 2019, 07:18 IST | Prajakta Kasale

Civic body, which fell 31 places to 49th last year, offers additional funds of Rs 1 crore each to seven corporators who clean up their wards best and boost city's rankings

BMC plans to reward corporators, NGOs and individuals working to keep their respective wards clean. Representation pics
BMC plans to reward corporators, NGOs and individuals working to keep their respective wards clean. Representation pics

The civic body has decided to resort to an age-old technique to get the city back on track in its Swachh Survekshan ranking. After plummeting 31 spots to No. 49 on the list this year, a desperate Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to offer rewards of up to Rs 24.85 crore to corporators and NGOs who get top points on the Swachh parameters, a civic official told mid-day.

The ward that stands second in each zone will win Rs 50 lakh and Rs 25 lakh will be awarded to the third ranking ward. In addition, the civic body will also give Rs 50 lakh to an NGO and Rs 50 lakh to eminent personalities working to keep their respective wards clean. Swachh Survekshan has become a point of self-esteem for cities ever since it was first introduced in 2014. It is usually announced around March after surveying cities/villages in the first two months of the year.

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Mumbai has fallen drastically in the cleanliness ranking since last year
Mumbai has fallen drastically in the cleanliness ranking since last year

While Navi Mumbai improved its rank by two spots, climbing to the seventh in 2019 and Mira-Bhayandar jumped to 27 from 47, Mumbai dropped its rank to 49 from 18 in 2018. Solid Waste management officers of the civic body believe that the major reason for this degradation was the lack of people's participation and citizens' feedback along with the lax implementation of initiatives like 100 per cent segregation of waste, waste processing (compelling all bulk generators to process their waste), 100 per cent sewerage network, and closure of all dumping grounds. The BMC also did not collect a user fee from citizens for solid waste management. This was also one of the reasons its rank dropped.

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Citizen participation
The civic body now wants to improve its rank through people participation and stronger solid waste management by involving corporators and NGOs. The BMC will shower a total of R24.85 crore as prize money on the corporators and NGOs doing the best towards achieving the BMC's goals. "We are planning to announce awards for corporators and NGOs who help to keep the city clean through direct participation or by creating awareness. It will enhance people's participation which is expected in Swachh Survekshan," said Ashok Khaire, deputy municipal commissioner of the Solid Waste Management department.

The civic body aims to encourage citizen's participation in keeping the city clean through this initiative
The civic body aims to encourage citizen's participation in keeping the city clean through this initiative

No cash rewards
The awards will be given after the next Swachh Survekshan rankings are announced and the award money is supposed to be utilised in a time frame of one year. The prize money will not directly go to the account of the corporator or the NGO but the municipal corporation will enable a machinery to use the prize money for initiatives like composting units, toilets construction/repair etc. The criteria for the cleanliness award haven't been finalised yet. But it will include criteria that are similar to those of the Swachh Survekshan rankings - waste segregation, zero waste, cleanliness on roads, no littering, use of toilets, environment-friendly initiatives etc.

'Transparency must'
Corporators welcomed the move, albeit with caution. "It is a good thing but it should be done in a proper, transparent manner. Otherwise, only some big corporators will bag the awards," said Asif Zakaria, Bandra corporator. "Some wards are more developed and already have public participation while others are less developed. So work in all wards can't be measured with the same criteria," he said. Activist James John, however, was slightly skeptical of the move. "It is an obligatory duty of the BMC to clean the roads, collect garbage daily, supply clean water, and take action against encroachment. It should first look into its own house. While awards are good for the encouragement, it is like giving students awards while teachers are not doing their job," said the member of NGO AGNI (Action for Good Governance and Networking in India). "Let's instead award wards without illegal hoardings and unauthorised structures," the activist added.

Lax solid waste management is one of the reasons behind the low ranking on the Swacch Survenkshan list, the BMC claimed
Lax solid waste management is one of the reasons behind the low ranking on the Swacch Survenkshan list, the BMC claimed

7
No. of zones in the city

227
No. of wards in city

Reward amount

Rs 1 crore Prize amount for cleanest ward in each zone
Rs 50 lakh Prize amount for second cleanest ward in each zone
Rs 25 lakh Prize amount for third cleanest ward in each zone
Rs 10 lakh Consolation prize amount for three winners in each zone
Rs 50 lakh First prize amount to NGO helping keep the ward clean
Rs 25 lakh Second prize amount to NGO helping keep the ward clean
Rs 10 lakh Third prize amount to NGO helping keep the ward clean
Rs 5 lakh Consolation prize amount for three NGO winners in each zone
Rs 50 lakh Prize amount for eminent personalities helping cleanliness in each ward

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