BHOPAL: Residents in the city are happy that Bhopal has improved its position in Swachhta rankings from 19th to 7th. They, however, said that it is mainly because of the difference in the levels of public participation that Indore has been outperforming the state capital for the past four years. They were unanimous that only the authorities can’t keep the city clean. The people will have to join the effort, they told Free Press. Excerpts:

‘Public participation is important’, says Nirmala Buch, former chief secretary

Everyone, including the government, the municipal corporation and the people have a role to play. Things won’t improve until we will involve the citizens in planning, implementation and monitoring; until we know what the problems of the people are and what they want done. And that’s why; I am against consultants. They know nothing about Bhopal and Bhopalis. They don’t know what they have to do. If we associate people, the city will definitely emerge at the number one position. Public participation is important. And that has always been strong in Indore.

‘Civic consciousness is missing in Bhopal’, says Rajendra Kothari, businessman and social activist

The issue is that we the people of Bhopal are not as alert and active as the people of Indore are. In Indore, if you would throw rubbish on the road a rickshaw wallah would call you out, “Sir, Kya kar rahe ho…?” This kind of civic consciousness is missing in Bhopal. We can’t be number one without civic consciousness. Municipality can do nothing until we change our mindset. Whether it is a government official or a rickshaw wallah, taxi wallah or thela wallah – everyone has to be conscious and motivate others.

‘Need for public awareness’, says Dayaram Namdev, Secretary, Gandhi Bhawan Trust, Bhopal

Nothing will happen till the people take interest. Karmachari kahan tak karengein… There is a need for public awareness. People have to learn to keep their homes and their surroundings clean. Indore got the first rank due to the administration but we have been unable to realise that we can be healthy only when we keep ourselves and our city clean. Government has done a lot in this regard but the role of citizens is important. ‘Safai hamara jeevan–sanskar hona chahiye chahe ghar mein ho ya ghar ke bahar… (Cleanliness should be a part of our life whether at home or outside).’

‘Too much focus on beautifying walls’ . says Raj Saini, art teacher

We are mainly focusing on making paintings on walls in the name of beautification. No real work, I mean something that sends out a message, is being done. Also we clean and paint walls only in the VIP areas. It is just a showoff. There are many places in the city which are still dirty and are rarely cleaned. We need to focus on these areas, too.

‘Government can’t do everything’, says Satish Gangrade, president, New Market Vyapari Sangh

New Market has won Rs one lakh award for cleanliness this year. The people of Bhopal are paying more attention to cleanliness. And that’s why we have jumped from the 19th position to the seventh. I am happy. I think awareness is important. The government can’t do everything. Nowadays, people have become aware of the need for cleanliness due to Covid -19. I hope Bhopal will be at the number one position next year.

‘People and government 50: 50 participation must” , says Shalini Gupta, artiste

Bhopal is the capital of the state but despite that we are unable to emerge at the top. Neither the people nor the government alone can keep the city clean. Both will have to work together. I think, 50:50 participation from the both sides is a must. Indore is getting the number one position because of good strategies. So, there is a need to change our strategy if we want to make Bhopal number one.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal