Dimapur, Kohima introspect after ‘dirtiest cities’ rankings
Dimapur/Kohima, Aug. 24 (EMN): In the fifth edition of the nationwide urban cleanliness survey, Swachh Survekshan, announced on August 20 by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Nagaland’s two major urban centres — Kohima and Dimapur —were among the dirtiest in the list of ‘cities with population ranging between one to 10 lakh’.
Out of the 382 cities, Dimapur was ranked 375 (8th dirtiest), while Kohima was placed at 325 (57th dirtiest).
According to the ministry, the overall survey was conducted for a total of 6,000 points and the data was collected from five different sources – citizen feedback, direct observation, service level progress, certification for garbage, and open defecation-free (ODF).
The administrator of Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC), Albert Ezung, when queried by Eastern Mirror about the outcome, informed that they are ‘analysing what went wrong’.
The administrator maintained that he could not give any concluding remarks since they are still analysing the outcome and looking into the exact criteria used for the survey and the points system, so that they can work on it.
‘It is not as bad as people may think (the scenario in Dimapur) as it has improved a lot; of course, there is room for improvement and we are working very hard,’ he asserted.
According to him, the challenge for Dimapur lies in waste generation and its management. On a daily basis, Dimapur generates nearly 100 tonnes of waste, he informed.
The waste materials are not burned but treated with bioremediation at the dumping site and the waste is stabilised and segregated through a biomining machine, said Ezung.
‘It is also surprising to see that Shillong, which is considered as one of the cleanest cities not only in Northeast but in the country, is ranked lower than Dimapur as per the survey; therefore we need to analyse the procedure of the survey and work on it,’ he stated.
He added that for awareness, they conduct ‘cleanest colony’ competition in Dimapur; admitting that they need to work on it.
‘Even the traders are doing their part but the main concern is the shoppers. In the marketplace like Nyamo Lotha Road and Dhobinala to City Tower junction, we have installed dustbins but the shoppers hardly use the dustbin,’ he said.
More than just garbage
‘When we talk about cleanliness, it is not only confined to cleaning the streets and garbage but we have to look at the aspects of public toilets, city beautification etc., and not just on the waste or dirt collection,’ commented an official of Kohima Municipal Council (KMC).
He shared that Kohima has a massive problem of water supply, which hinders its attempt to maintain cleanliness.
The official stated that the government has ‘not given any power or authority’ to the council besides collecting and dumping of garbage. He stated that there is ‘not much the municipality can do alone as they are not given authority over various things,’ maintaining that departments that get maintenance funds should also do their work.
There are many policy matters that need to be taken seriously, he said.
According to him, it is ‘unfair’ on the part of the government and the public to always point fingers at the municipalities ‘not knowing the practical difficulties’.
He stated that the ‘only power KMC has now is collecting garbage and disposing it,’ besides looking after the rates of essential goods in the market ‘and other duties’.
‘We lag in many things but we try to do the little things that we can,’ he added.
He said that the KMC is a local body, which is ‘merely surviving on its own revenue’ and “when we think of practical realities it is not an easy job for the municipality’. He claimed that there is no assistance from the government but whatever little has been achieved till date is all by the urban local bodies (ULB) only.
‘Citizens too have a role to play and be more responsive; and ULB needs to be strengthened to stand on its own feet,’ he stated. He further said that garbage collection is a big challenge in itself as the ULB is a local body and surviving on its own revenue.
He cited the need for sweepers, sanitary workers and vehicles, dumping trucks.
‘KMC lacks resources because we have not been empowered with the powers that are supposed to be given to the ULB,’ he stated, citing that there is no revenue, and the sweepers and sanitary workers are working at a meagre salary.
Sharing about the garbage collection, he mentioned that their primary focus is on the main roads from Lerie till High School where they collect garbage every morning.
On the other hand, all the wards have their own ward sanitation committee, collect their own garbage on alternate days and then dispose it off themselves through the trucks provided by the KMC. The committee collects fees per household and with that they maintain the vehicle and pay the sanitation workers within that wards, he informed.
He further informed that on an average, they spend around INR 3 crore annually in cleanliness activities, which includes fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance etc.
“We have seven vehicles that go out daily to collect garbage, JCBs (sic), water tankers, biomedical waste collecting vehicles,” he added.
He asserted that they will keep on trying to improve the ranking, adding “our attempt is always to improve the city in terms of cleanliness and beauty”. He further thanked the citizens for their co-operation to the municipality, stating that it has to be a ‘concerted effort and not just leave it to the municipality.’