Is Mysuru really the cleanest city?

A reality check by Deccan Herald showed otherwise

A few politicians and the officials of the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) are in an upbeat mood as they have achieved a great feat. 

Mysuru has retained its top slot as the cleanest city by securing 1,749 points out of a total 2,000 points in the second round of assessment, in the sanitation survey, by a team of, again, officials from the Central government, recently.

The Mayor, MCC commissioner and also Swachch Bharat Mission Director for Karnataka were in Delhi on Monday to receive the award from the Union Urban Development Minister. Commissioner C G Betsurmath was quoted as saying that the city bagged the slot by adopting a scientific system for disposal of waste, recycling of waste and making the city open defecation-free. “Apart from routine cleanliness, the MCC has made collection of garbage from source only after segregation as dry and wet. Besides transporting it to solid waste management plants, at least 82 per cent of it is converted into compost. Mysuru has become 100 per cent open defecation-free and there is 100 per cent underground drainage system,” he said.

However, a reality check by Deccan Herald  showed otherwise, which is evident by the photographs taken on Tuesday.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath, who lead a vision group on solid waste management under National Urban Renewal Mission for Mysuru, said, he was happy that the city has got some recognition, but there is a long way to actually become a clean city, forget becoming the cleanest city. “This is a case of ‘alida orige ulidavane raja’ (the only survivor of a village is its king). First of all the MCC lacks the infrastructure and manpower to keep the city clean. Besides, the people should also act in a civilised way. For a population of 12 lakh, 2,000 civic workers, that too most of them at the mercy of contractors, are too inadequate. Our vision group recommended decentralisation of solid waste management. We advocated a solid waste management unit in each ward instead of dumping all the 450 tonnes of waste generated daily in the city, victimising the villages on the outskirts,” he said.

One such unit was established at Gokulam, but had to be abandoned as people of the locality protested, claiming that it would emanate foul smell and pollute the air, he added.

He said, at least Mayor B L Bhyrappa, an upright man, should have declined to receive the award, stating that the city doesn’t deserve the award as of now.

“Open defecation is rampant on MG Road, opposite the market. It is seen even in the heart of the city, at the junction of JLB Road and Devaraj Urs Road near Chamundi Guest House,” he pointed out.

R Chandra Prakash of Mysuru Grahakara Parishat said, the civic workers, who come for door-to-door collection of waste, do not have proper containers and carts for collection and transportation of garbage. “They do not even have proper safety gear. It is just because the other cities are worse than Mysuru, that it has got the recognition. It would be an embarrassment if somebody visits the city to see how clean it is,” he said.

N Nandini, a member of Innerwheel, also a volunteer for Lets Do It group that cleans certain spots in the city during weekends, said, she started home composting of wet waste as the civic workers do not have adequate education on handling waste. “Even if I segregate dry and wet waste and hand them over separately, the civic worker put it into the same container in the push cart. Now, I even train acquaintances in home composting. The assesment team that has given Mysuru 1,749 marks should have visited the ‘keris’, ‘koppalus’ and ‘mohallas’ and also lakes, which are the foundation for the city,” she said.

Sri Harsha, a pharmaceutical distributor, who has his office and godown in Agrahara, said, the MCC claims that there is 100 per cent UGD, but most of the UGDs are blocked due to indiscriminate dumping of waste by residents and also civic workers. “If the MCC claims that 82 to 90 per cent of the waste is converted to compost, why there is so much garbage in drainages and by the roadsides. In most of the localities, the garbage collectors do not turn up for three to four days at a stretch. Forget comparing with cities in developed nations, can we at least compare Mysuru with Colombo or Kathmandu? he asks. 

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