BHOPAL: In what could be termed as a great leap forward, Bhopal has been declared as the second cleanest city of India in Swacch Survekshan survey-2017 by Union minister of urban development, Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday. Bhopal, which was ranked at 21st position in the 2016 survey, jumped 19 positions upward to claim the second spot among 500 cities across the country.

The list was topped by Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, while the last in the list was Gonda city of Uttar Pradesh.

Expressing joy on the achievement, mayor of Bhopal Alok Sharma said that Bhopal attained the second spot due to massive support by its residents. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of citizens. And apart from them, the credit for this feat also goes to the ground-level workers of Bhopal municipal corporation (BMC), who worked tirelessly to improve cleanliness in the city,” said elated Sharma while speaking to Free Press.

“Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation about the importance of cleanliness in the country’s development on October 2, 2015, BMC pulled up its socks and got determined to work on cleanliness to lead Bhopal on the path of development,” said Sharma, adding that the “Feat was not achieved overnight, as BMC undertook many initiatives to create awareness among people on the importance of cleanliness.”

Elaborating more on the efforts to Free Press Sharma said “We started campaigns like ‘Roko Toko’ to stop people from defecating in the open. This apart, campaign like ‘Na Kacchra Karenge na Karne Denge’ was also initiated to stop people from dumping garbage here and there at will. Another such drive ‘Chai pe Charcha’ to create awareness on the Swacch Bharat campaign too paid off.” BMC also built about 30,000 toilets and 200 Sulabh complexes in the city to promote the use of toilets, he informed.

“We also went to speak to different resident welfare associations and traders associations to work together in the Swacch Bharat campaign to enhance the level of cleanliness. We even involved schoolchildren by conducting various competitions in schools related to Swacch Bharat campaign,” added Sharma.

 “We are not going to stop here, as we would now work on the loopholes and put more efforts in cleanliness to take the city to the top position,” Sharma quipped to conclude the conversation.

 “Feat was not achieved overnight, as Bhopal municipal corporation (BMC) undertook numerous initiatives to create awareness on importance of cleanliness. BMC also built about 30,000 toilets and 200 Sulabh complexes in the city to promote use of toilets.”

-Alok Sharma, Mayor, Bhopal

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