Many of the 98 cities selected for new urban initiatives under the Centre’s flagship programmes are found to be wanting on the sanitation front and are low on Swachh Bharat ranking causing concern for the government.
With the states on course of preparation of city level plans under the flagship new urban initiatives of Smart City Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), the common underlying concern is ensuring sanitation under all these schemes.
Concern over cleanliness in urban areas is highlighted by the fact that only 3 of the 98 cities selected so far under Smart City Mission figure among the top 10 clean cities and most of the 12 HRIDAY cities ranked very low in Swachh Bharat Rankings, according to the data prepared by the Urban Development Ministry for 476 Class-1 cities of the country.
UD Ministry is currently conducting workshops for states and urban local bodies for their understanding of various aspects of preparation of city level smart city plans.
Of the 98 cities identified, 88 of them were given Swachh Bharat rankings. Of these, only 3 cities Kochi, Tiruchirapally and Navi Mumbai are among the top 10 clean cities in the country.
While 29 of these 98 figured among the top 100 cities, in a matter of concern, 38 smart city nominees were ranked beyond 200, including 20 between swachh bharat rankings of 301-476.
Of the 12 HRIDAY Cities, 8 were given Swachh Bharat rankings. Of these, only Warangal (Andhra Pradesh) got a good Swachh Bharat rank of 33 while the remaining 7 were ranked between 290 (Kanchipuram) and 430 (Amritsar). Swachh Bharat Ranking of other HRIDAY cities, which are of cultural and tourism importance are Mathura (299), Gaya (334), Puri (398) and Varanasi (418).
A senior UD Ministry official said, “Ministry is particularly conscious of the importance of sanitation in urban areas.
Accordingly, sanitation has been made an integral component of all new schemes like Smart City Mission, AMRUT and HRIDAY besides launching Swachh Bharat Mission.”
He said under AMRUT, focus is on ensuring clean water supply and sewerage connection to all urban households besides storm water drains while under Smart City Mission the emphasis is on decentralized water and solid waste management and application of smart solutions.
Under Swachh Bharat Mission, the principal objective is to eliminate open defecation and 100 per cent door-to-door collection, transportation and scientific disposal of municipal solid waste. Convergence of these schemes in implementation should help in achieving intended results including sanitation.”
He also said that the purpose of setting up a meeting of about 100 Swachh Bharat Ambassadors with President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday was to further galvanise awareness generation activities about cleanliness.
Contrary to the popular adage that small is beautiful, it turned out that small cities are not necessarily the clean cities. Of the 482 towns and cities with a population of above one lakh each identified as AMRUT cities, 245 have a population between one and two lakh each.
Of these, only 3 cities Hassan (Karnataka), Gangtok (Sikkim) and Halisahar (West Bengal) figured among the top 10 clean cities and 40 among the top 100 clean cities.
106 of these 245 cities were ranked low between 300 and 476.
Central Government has provisioned central assistance of Rs 48,000 cr for Smart City Mission, Rs 50,000 cr for AMRUT for the next five years and Rs 500 cr for HRIDAY during 2015- 17.
Under Smart City Mission, Rs 100 cr central assistance will be provided to each of the 100 selected cities per year with states and urban local bodies providing matching funds.
Sanitation projects including solid waste management have to be taken up with resources from other sources including borrowings and PPP.
Under AMRUT, Centre will provide 50 per cent of the project cost for universal coverage of water connections and sewerage networks for cities with population of up to 10 lakhs with states requiring to meet at least 20 per cent of project cost and mobilizing the rest from the resources of urban local bodies and other sources. Central assistance will be 30 per cent for cities with population of more than 10 lakhs each.
Swachh Bharat Mission has been launched in urban areas last year at an estimated cost of Rs 66,009 cr out of which central share is Rs 14,623 cr. Under this Mission, Centre will provide an assistance of Rs 4,000 each for construction of household toilets, 4 per cent of cost as Viability Gap Funding for construction of community toilets and 20 per cent of cost as Viability Gap Funding for solid waste management projects.
Physical targets under Swachh Bharat Mission in urban areas include-construction of 1.04 crore individual household toilets, over 5 lakh community and public toilets and assisting 30 crore urban people with solid waste management services. 100 per cent door-to-door collection of solid waste, its transportation and scientific disposal in 83,000 urban wards by 2019 are envisaged under the Mission.