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Clean India Campaign yet to expedite

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Clean India Campaign’, which completes a year on Friday (October 2), failed to pick up in the city.

PM started ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ (Clean India Campaign) in his parliamentary constituency on November 8 by wielding a spade to remove silt deposited along the banks of Ganga. He had followed it up by nominating nine ‘Navratnas’, including CM Akhilesh Yadav, to carry forward the cleanliness in UP. Many NGOs, social and voluntary organizations as well as officials of Varanasi Municipal Corporation (VMC) wielded brooms to make different areas across the city spotless. But, everything proved to be a mere formality.

TOI visited some of the areas across the city on Thursday. Overflowing garbage dumps, scattered waste and debris along the roads were a common sight, though VMC claims to be removing garbage everyday. Hardly 30 metres away from the residence of mayor Ramgopal Mohley at Gandhi Nagar Colony in Sigra, one could find garbage dumped along the road. “It is a shame that VMC has failed to clean the area visible from its chief’s residence. All I have been reading in newspapers that this colony is one of those where regular cleaning is carried out, but hardly have I seen anyone cleaning the area,” a passerby said.

“There is Shankul Dhara area situated in the heart of the city, which has been in a pathetic condition since god knows how long. Then, there are our famed ghats along Ganga which are no different and in filthy condition. Except for Assi Ghat and a few adopted by NGO or other organizations, all the others are crying for attention,” radio jockey Soni Singh said.

The areas grappling with insanitation are Beniabagh, Dashaswamedh, Sonarpura, in and around district hospital for women and Sri Shiv Prasad Gupta (SSPG) Hospital in Kabir Chaura, Bharat Mata Mandir, near Cantonment railway station, Soniya, Aurangabad, Mehmoorganj, Ranipur, Tulsipur, Ravindrapuri, Assi-Lanka stretch, Lanka bypass, Khojwa, Bhelupur, Sunderpur, Ashapur and areas in trans-Varuna region.

 A resident of Dashaswamedh said, “The bylanes of famed Vishwanath Gali bear testimony to the slackness of VMC as these are always littered with garbage. Herds of stray cows and bulls can be seen munching on the garbage. Nothing has been done about it.” The meandering lanes are characterized by uneven potholed paths, dotted with garbage and cow dung on both the sides.
Open defecation continues despite presence of toilets at various public places but these remained closed for most of the time, forcing people to defecate in the open.
Meanwhile, corporation officials are patting themselves on the back for various cleanliness initiatives and drives being carried out in specific areas of the city. “We are putting in all efforts for cleanliness of the city. A cleanliness drive as a part of ‘Swacch Bharat Pakhwada’ began. VMC cleaned Macchodari Kund and Ram Kund in Ramkatora area earlier on Tuesday. This drive would continue till the entire kund is cleaned,” additional municipal commissioner B K Dwivedi said.
To mark the first anniversary of Clean India Campaign, a series of programmes are lined up and we are also going to initiate a cleanliness drive by involving rag pickers and others in Sigra on Friday, he added.

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