Relentless in its pursuit of a good rating in the Swachh Survekshan, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has claimed to have fulfilled most of the criteria in the solid waste management target set by the Centre, as part of its flagship cleanliness survey. Any civic body that meets most of 24 criteria for solid waste management is given a ‘7-star’ rating by the Centre.
Of the 24 criteria, 10 are mandatory, nine are essential and five are desirable. The civic body needs to fulfill 95 per cent of the mandatory criteria, 90 per cent of essential criteria and 80 per cent of desirable criteria. To do so, it has to ensure cleaning of all residential areas daily and commercial or public areas twice a day, as well as cleaning and disposing of the waste dumped in rivers.
“The PMC fulfills the criteria set for the ‘7-star’ rating in managing solid waste. The civic administration should be permitted to seek the rating from the Union government,” said Municipal Commissioner Saurabh Rao in a proposal tabled in the Civic Women and Child Welfare Committee on Wednesday.
Local residents and activists, however, reacted with scepticism to PMC’s claims, especially the one about cleaning rivers. According to the civic body, no waste is visible in the lakes, rivers, nullahs and stormwater drains in the city.
Satish Khot, a member of the National Society for Clean Cities, said it was fine to hope for the best rating, but the civic body should be realistic and take citizens into confidence while making claims of cleanliness.
“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It is really absurd. Whoever has made the claim should be made to swim in the river and we will applaud that person,” he said.
In another proposal, Rao has sought permission to upgrade the PMC’s status as a open defecation free (ODF) city to ‘ODF++’. The PMC was declared an ODF city two years ago and ‘ODF+’ last year.
“The PMC is fulfilling the criteria set up for upgrading its status to ‘ODF++’. This need to be communicated to the Union government. The municipal commissioner should be permitted to apply for upgrading the status,” said the civic chief.
As per the Centre’s criteria for ‘ODF++’ status, the civic body is supposed to maintain the sewage pipeline network, address any complaint of overflowing chamber and sewage leakages in the city within six hours, penalise those releasing untreated sewage in public places, register those providing sewage treatment service and include the benchmark set by the Union government in the by-laws of waste management adopted by the civic body.
The municipal commissioner has sought suggestions from local residents on steps the PMC can take to fulfill the criteria for upgrading to ‘ODF++’ status.