Despite undertaking several initiatives to improve its ranking in the Swachh survey, the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC’s) ranking among the 100 cleanest cities, announced by the Union Urban Development Department on Wednesday, has dropped from 10 to 37. The PMC had secured the 10th rank in 2018, three slots higher than its 13th rank in 2017, and slightly better than its 11th rank in 2016, among civic bodies with more than one lakh population in their jurisdiction.
Last year’s winner, Indore, has retained its top rank in the survey, while Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh and Mysuru have been ranked second and third respectively. “We had done a lot of work on the field to improve the PMC’s ranking in the survey, but it seems we fell short in the documentation that was submitted for the ranking,” said Dnyaneshwar Molak, joint municipal commissioner and in-charge of the solid waste management department.
In fact, even in Maharashtra, Pune was only the eighth cleanest city. Navi Mumbai was found to be the cleanest city in the state, followed by Kolhapur, Mira-Bhayandar, Chandrapur, Ambarnath, Wardha and Vasai-Virar. In the category of urban local bodies with less than one lakh population, eight of the top 10 positions have been bagged by Maharashtra. Karad town in Satara district is the cleanest such city in the country, followed by Lonavala in Pune district, Mul in Chandrapur district and Vita in Sangli district, as per the survey.
In the run-up to the survey, the PMC had left no stone unturned to secure a good rank this year. It had appointed a private agency, KPMG Advisory Services Pvt Ltd, for three months at a cost of Rs 35.30 lakh, to set up a project Implementation Unit (PIU). The PIU had to study the performance of the PMC in the earlier survey, plan programmes and raise public awareness to improve the ranking of the city in the 2019 survey.
The agency also had the responsibility of helping the civic administration get its paperwork together, procure certificates needed for the survey and coordinate with other agencies. KPMG Advisory Services Pvt Ltd, which is on the panel of the Union government under the Swachh Bharat Mission, had submitted a proposal to the PMC, seeking to provide its services to the civic body and help it improve its ranking.
In its communication, the Union government had informed the state government that KPMG has been selected to provide its service for setting up a state-level Project Management Unit (PMU) and city-level PIU for 10 cities in Maharashtra, but it did not have PMC in the list.
The PMC had also signed an agreement with E&Y LLP to draw up a draft plan for the solid waste management department of the civic body. The agency was responsible for assisting the department to implement the draft plan, train the civic staff, carry out new programmes to generate more revenue for the department and collect data on cleanliness.
The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has been ranked 52nd in the country and 13th in the state. The PCMC had also made several efforts to impress the central team which, said officials, have come to naught.