If you have visited Indore in past few years, you will be surely surprised by its all around cleanliness and passion to be the number one city in Swachata continuously. Its difficult to visualise an INdian city taking so much pain and pride in keeping the city clean. All this has happened in just a few decades of time.
Indore is not new to us. Having graduated from the Govindram Seksaria Institute of Technology and Sc in 1985 we have seen Indore from close eyes. The rise of Kailash Vijayvargiya and his Nanda Nagar team, the continuous victories of Former Loksabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan , the downfall of Mahesh Joshi and the congress in the city to the latest development that has taken place in the city making it as number one in the Swachchta Survey across the country. In fact we were in college when Tai ( Sumitra Mahajan fought her first MP election and Kailash Vijayvargiya took the fight against Pankaj Sanghvi in corporation elections. Both these leaders Tai and Vijayvargiya have proved their worth to the nation.
However the change in the city started during the tenure of Kailash Vijayvargiya as Mayor of the city. The startlit theatre road near our college where we have taken our tea and spent hours discussing politics to cricket took an all together different shape with wide roads that became the cynosure of one and all.
But that was just the starting . The Krishnapura river front project was also taken but somehow it could not take off during initial years and there was lot of criticism in media and public about the delay in execution of the project. Today KrishnaPura and the Sanjay Setu has become a tourist spot of the city. Most of the roads have been widened taking encroachments seriously irrespective of political and or other status of people. The recent transformation of 56 dukaan is another case in point how the city administration continuously strives for new ideas. At 56 dukan you will be forced to park your vehicles in the neat space created for it . If the administration wants people will follow rules provided facilities are given, that is the lesson from the 56 dukan project.
But the biggest change for which we wish to invite the PM and other ministerial colleagues to Indore is to see the cleanliness drive and its real implementation in the city. One finds placards across the city to keep the city clean and not throw waste randomly. The waste collection facility of the corporation comes early morning before 8 am, something that other city has to note and do. The change in Indore has helped other cities in the vicinity also take inspiration. For example Burhanpur 200 KMs from Indore too has a well managed waste collection facility.
Swachh Bharat Mission, started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2 October 2014, threw up challenges to each city in India to overcome poor cleanliness. Cities were made to participate in a national-level competitive programme in order to become clean cities. In 2016, Indore achieved the rank of 25 in this challenge. IN 2017 it came first and held it aggressively. The recent visit of Secretary Urban affairs ministry D. Mishra to Indore and showering praise is just an example of how the city is protecting her credentials.
There are many other small and large projects that are making news . For example one finds the vehicles parked systematically in most of the places.
A ‘dustbin free city’ initiative was taken up, and special emphasis was laid on investigation of waste to ascertain where the waste came from And indeed, in a short span of time, Indore became a dustbin-free city. Many NGOs were mobilised to motivate households to opt for door-to-door collection of segregated waste. Leading from the front, Indore’s Mayor Malini Laxman Singh Goud and many other public representatives took a keen interest to make sure their wards/areas were clean. The competition to become a clean city triggered internal competition among the corporators to become the number one clean ward.
Earlier, municipal workers used to do all the street cleaning only in the morning. But the corporation changed this system. Workers were employed for collecting garbage from shops in the evening and cleaning the markets at night. While rest of the country employs garbage collecting trucks of 1.8 cubic metre-capacity, Indore Municipal Corporation uses vehicles of 3.3 cubic metre-capacity. The former can collect garbage from around 300 homes, an Indorean container can cover nearly 1,000 homes.
For a sustainable integrated solid waste management system, Information communication & technology (ICT) based devices and unique Weighbridge mechanisms were introduced. Ultra-modern mechanised road-sweeping machines are now used for cleaning major bypasses, super corridors, and bridges.
A collection and transportation app was developed to ensure the digitisation of the entire process, from door-to-door segregation to final disposal of the waste. This also ensured 100 per cent data management in the form of digital file formats, that includes all registers of segregated waste and citizen feedback.
Indore’s wet waste management techniques have been linked to its public transport as well. A bio-CNG plant with a capacity of 200 tonnes per day, which converts wet waste through biomethanation process, was established. Today, up to 15 city buses operate on this bio-CNG gas.
A dry waste processing plant with a capacity of 300 tonnes per day has been established on public-private partnership (PPP) mode. A construction and demolition (C&D) waste plant with a capacity of 100 tonnes per day has also been established, which takes care of the waste generated in municipal limits. This C&D waste is reused to make non-structural concrete, paving blocks, lower layers of road payments, etc.
The Indore Municipal Corporation started a helpline and ordered that any problems be registered and resolved within 48 hours. Warsi credits the trust that developed between the Indore Municipal Corporation and residents for the success of Indore’s cleanup. NGOs would also explain to households why waste segregation was important.
The collected waste is taken to 10 transfer stations across the city, where staff make sure the waste is properly segregated. From these transfer stations, the waste is taken to the waste processing facility.
At the facility, 645 tonnes of recyclable waste is daily sifted through and separated by 300-odd workers. Sarthak and Basix, two NGOs that Indore has collaborated with, has further integrated the informal sector to sort waste, said Sambyal of CSE. The recyclable waste is sold to either the recycling industry or to companies that use recycled material.
The success of Indore’s urban solid waste management shows that urban India can clean up if municipal bodies, NGOs, private companies and citizens come together. This is urgent as India will, by 2050, generate 3.5 times – over 543,200 tonnes or 54,320 truckloads – of the solid waste it produces today, the World Bank estimated in 2018.
The Indore model should be replicated across the country. IT can be also further enhanced with more beautification and projects for cycling and water conservation schemes. India needs to repair her urban infrastructure and cities. NIti Aayoga and Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs must take the lead in this direction. We wish PM Modi can also visit the city especially for this purpose and spread the message. After all he is the brand ambassador for Swach Bharat and deserves a BIg Prize in Urban affairs from world organizations.
Dr Asheesh Shah