Indore was adjudged India's cleanest city for the fourth straight year in the central government's cleanliness survey announced on Thursday. The second and third positions went to Surat in Gujarat and Maharashtra's Navi Mumbai respectively.
The Swachh Survekshan awards 2020 were announced by Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri at a ceremony.
The first city in MP to report five cases in the third week of March, Indore’s situation worsened and it currently has 10,370 infections, including 346 deaths.
Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) officials, MPs, MLAs and local residents participated in a cleanliness campaign in the city on August 14. The densely populated area, a flourishing hub of trade and commerce, is among the cities worst affected by the coronavirus in India.
Municipal commissioner Pratibha Pal launched the ‘Safai Mahotsav’, a campaign aimed at public participation in the cleanliness of the city as thousands of sanitation workers employed by the municipality were on leave due to festival of Goga Navmi. The task was undertaken with public support so that cleanliness remains the same as on other days on August 14, she said.
“The participation by the locals in this campaign was a celebration and many took pride in themselves. The spirit of cleanliness is ingrained in the blood of 'Indories'," Pal said, adding that the spirit of the people of Indore in keeping their environment clean is the reason why it has ranked as the cleanest city in India for the fourth time in a row.
'Safai mitras' (sanitation workers) in Indore were honoured on Wednesday after the feat.
Underlining the commitment to cleanliness, Indore BJP MP Shankar Lalwani said amid the coronavirus outbreak, the municipal staff played a crucial dual role of keeping the city clean and ensuring supplies of vegetables and grocery in locked down households due to prohibitive measures.
“Imagine our 'safai mitras' visited households daily to collect garbage, even those homes where positive patients were detected and the entire area was sealed by the administration,” he said.
Among other initiatives, the administration banned single-use plastic completely and 'bartan' banks were established to rent out utensils to prevent use of disposable items in functions and gatherings. Waste reduction measures were promoted and locals were encouraged to use cloth bags in place of plastic one. In another notable initiative, the city has treated 15 lakh tonnes of waste rotting at Devguradia-based trenching ground and it was turned into a city forest with 60,000 trees.
With use of efficient technology, Indore Municipal Corporation became the leading civic body generating Rs 40 crore in revenue through waste management techniques. Home-generated wet garbage was turned into fertiliser and 10 residential colonies were turned into zero waste areas by the corporation.
IAS officer Manish Singh, who was the municipal commissioner when the city was adjudged the cleanest for the first time in 2016, handled the administration as collector during the coronavirus outbreak and appears to have utilised his expertise to keep the cleanliness goals intact.
Greeting the public, officers and public representatives of the city, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the administration would aim not only for a "chowka" (four) but for a sixer. “Cleanliness is now the nature of Indore. The city has become a role model for the world in cleanliness,” he said in a congratulatory tweet, adding that the city has earned a name for itself across the globe.
As many as 20 MP cities earned a place in the top 50 list of cleanest cities in India. MP has also become the third cleanest state in the country, according to the survey.
State capital Bhopal ended up as the seventh cleanest city in the list and the cleanest capital in India.