The Government of Andhra Pradesh has set a target of becoming open defecation-free by January 1st, 2016. “Under the phase 1 of the Swachh Andhra Pradesh program, make AP open defecation-free by January 2016,” Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said in a meeting with Municipal Commissioners here in Vijayawada.
Stating that all towns are strewn with litter, the Chief Minister said that sweeping and cleaning of all public places should happen before midnight 12 am. “However, if there’s any trash strewn in the mornings, it can be picked up then. But, do not block traffic on roads due to cleaning. Hence, sweeping of roads should be done before 12 am.”
The Chief Minister instructed officials to form a Committee by involving Jack Sim, the founder of World Toilet Organisation, and look at ways to achieve targets. Currently, under IHHL scheme, 59,000 toilets have been built in the state against the total sanctioned 1.14 lakh toilets. The state government had set October 2, 2015 as deadline for completion. “I will make surprise visits to all municipalities,” the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister reprimanded commissioners for failing to educate public on the need to have toilets. “Work on war-footing basis and complete them by January 1st, 2016.” Seeking suggestion from municipal commissioners on best waste management practices in India, he directed all municipalities to set certain norms for every village/town in the state in order to declare them as litter-free and open defecation-free.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister said Swacch Andhra Pradesh Corporation should operate with freedom like a private organisation to achieve these ambitious targets.
Questioning officials on why towns/cities in Andhra Pradesh could not make it to the top 100 of the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat rankings. “We have 110 municipalities and why couldn’t we make it to the top 100 of the rankings? Every municipality should set for itself certain norms to make itself litter-free and open defecation-free.”
Simultaneously, the Chief Minister said all municipal commissioners should also work on benchmarking their cities/towns against international standards. “Pollution controlling mechanism and management of sewerage, treatment of sewerage water, debris management due to increasing construction activity and construction of quality sanitary household and community toilets should be managed efficiently,” he added.
This kind of benchmarking, according to the Chief Minister, should evolve into a healthy competition between towns, by eventually becoming a public campaign. “Create awareness in public where they can become responsible for their actions. We will also seek feedback from the public on how municipalties are carrying out beautification programs.”
The Chief Minister suggested that municipalities could appoint city-planning and architecture consultants and plan the beautification of these urban centres. “During this process, you can appoint an agency which rates every urban centre based on certain key indicators. That way, we can improve the performance of every municipality, eventually making every city and town clean.”
Take a cluster-based approach, the Chief Minister suggested, adding that services such as garbage management, management of community/public toilets and others could be outsourced. “Seek service outsourcing not personnel outsourcing. While appointing service providers, ensure that you set standard practices which can be replicated in all municipalities,” he added.
“We need to increase the number of rural areas toilets to 60 lakh. Currently, we are giving Rs. 15,000 for single toilet. I’d require you to analyse challenges scientifically and work towards it,” he explained.
During the meeting, the Chief Minister sought suggestions from commissioners on how he can put forward best solutions for Waste Management in India. The Chief Minister informed them that these suggestions will be present to the Swachh Bharat Group in the next meeting.
Depending on the tonnage, the Chief Minister said, “I also want your feedback on the waste to energy plants. Should we go for source segregation or commingled recycling? Should we take the PPP route? How feasible is it? Can we explore tax exemption for these projects? Can we opt for the annuity route? I want the best recommendations.”
We cannot relegate ourselves to providing urban areas only with civic amenties, the Chief Minister said, adding that urbanisation is a massive task. Start mobilizing funds and review constantly.” (INN)