It’s undeniable that Ahmedabad is progressing at a brisk pace and is acclaimed as one of the finest cities in India. Ironically, the city, known for the attributes of safety, economic life and industrial development, doesn’t quite measure up to the desired standards of cleanliness. The results suggest that in the areas of innovation and civic sense, the city is yet to catch up.
According to Swachh Survekshan 2022, an annual urban sanitation and cleanliness survey conducted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA), Ahmedabad has dropped to the 18th position on the cleanliness quotient. It’s the city’s lowest ranking ever since the survey started in 2016. Ahmedabad achieved rankings of six and 10 in 2019 and 2021 respectively.
Surat is ranked second among India’s cleanest cities. For the sixth time in a row, Indore, which has a population of over one lakh, topped the rankings as the cleanest city in the country.
While Indore has a seven-star rating as a garbage-free city, Ahmedabad has received three stars in this category.
However, Ahmedabad was awarded the cleanest megacity title in the sub-category of cities with a population of 40 lakh and above.
The annual survey has five sub-categories: Divya (platinum), Anupam (gold), Ujjwal (silver), Udit (bronze) and Aarohi (aspiring).
The survey categorises cities based on:
- Segregation of waste into wet, dry and hazard categories
- Processing and recycling of wet and dry waste
- Processing capacity against wet waste generated
- Construction and demolition waste processing
- Sanitation status of cities
- Percentage of waste going into landfills
In critical issues such as disaster management, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) received 150 marks out of 200, which suggests the city is not that well prepared for epidemics. Even in innovation, Ahmedabad fails to measure up to the yardsticks, for the city accumulated just 21 marks out of 75.
In service-level progress, Ahmedabad received 2528.38 marks out of 3000. The city got 5720.87 marks out of the overall score of 7500.
City planning expert and founder of Urbanvoices.in Kumar Manish believes limited budget is impeding Ahmedabad’s progress. Manish observed, “A considerable part of the budget is allocated to salary and administrative expenses. Budget has been allotted to construct the overbridge, which is AMC’s priority. Then, unlike the case in Indore, there is a general lack of trust between citizens and the AMC. With the AMC adding new areas to the city, the rankings will be affected.”
AMC leader of opposition Shahzad Khan has told VOI that the AMC is suffering due to weak administration. “Heaps of garbage and unclean roads do not bode well. If facilities are not available, how can you expect a change? For the third successive year, our rankings have dropped, which is not healthy,” he said.
Renu Pokharna, founder of the Ahmedabad Project that works on civic engagement and labour reforms, feels the decline in rankings is a “wake-up call.” “I had been to Indore,” she said. “Indore citizens have a great awareness of cleanliness, which this city lacks.”
Nonetheless, Ahmedabad Mayor Kirit Parmar is hopeful of a turnaround. Parmar reminds that Ahmedabad, with a population of more than 40 lakhs, still bagged awards in three categories. Parmar feels the rankings should improve next year if the city holds frequent cleanliness awareness campaigns among citizens.