Swachh survey will be extended to 500 cities: Naidu

New Delhi: Centre is taking additional measures to “strengthen the country’s journey” towards a “clean India” and the Swachh survey will be extended to 500 cities, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Monday.

“The government is taking additional policy and institutional measures which will strengthen the country’s journey towards a Swachh India. The Swachh survey is going to be extended to 500 cities, which have population over one lakh,” he said.

The Union Urban Development Minister said this at an event here to felicitate leaders and officers of Alappuzha (Kerala), Panaji (Goa) and Mysuru (Karnataka) municipalities with Clean City Awards given by environmental NGO, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) following its survey.

The Union Urban Development Minister said, “States, cities, panchayats should give awards so that it becomes a movement. We have the potential…It is the political will and administrative skill which is required.”

He claimed that parliamentarians keep asking him to categorise their respective cities as “smart cities” and said, “Smart cities require smart leaderships for the project to become a success.” “(By) smart (I) do not mean height, width, coat, suit, boot, hat…smart means in thinking, in vision, in taking tough decisions.

If you take tough decisions and before that you take people into confidence, you are transparent, people will support. This is what experience tells us. Otherwise people will not be receptive,” Naidu said. He insisted that Centre’s municipal solid waste rules be adhered to.

Terming cities as “growth engines”, the minister suggested leaders and officers in the municipalities to take “tough” decisions to ensure cities remain clean also in view of health of citizens. Stating that people will have to pay tax if they are being offered cleanliness service, he said, “But this is provided you (municipalities) provide people the services.”

Noting that waste-to-energy projects did not produce desired results, Naidu insisted segregation of waste before being disposed of. At the event, he also launched CSE’s book titled ‘Not in My Backyard’, which deals with solid waste management in the cities. The event was addressed also by CSE director general Sunita Narain.