Mumbai: Residents Slam Superficiality & Wastefulness In BMC's Weekly Clean-Up Drives

Mumbai: Residents Slam Superficiality & Wastefulness In BMC's Weekly Clean-Up Drives

The recent cleanliness drive in Dharavi Kumbharwada on February 24th, 2024 has sparked controversy as residents and local representatives raise concerns over the efficacy and thoroughness of the initiative.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Sunday, February 25, 2024, 09:49 PM IST
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Despite claims of a comprehensive cleanliness campaign by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the reality on the ground tells a different story. The recent cleanliness drive in Dharavi Kumbharwada on February 24th, 2024 has sparked controversy as residents and local representatives raise concerns over the efficacy and thoroughness of the initiative.

BMC's weekly clean-up drives

According to the directives of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, the BMC has been conducting a weekly cleanliness campaign across all departments, aiming to transform Mumbai into a clean, beautiful, and green metropolis. However, the execution of these efforts has come under intense scrutiny, particularly in areas like Dharavi, where residents feel neglected and underserved.

Varsha Gaikwad, the MLA of Indian National Congress representing Dharavi, expressed her dissatisfaction, stating, "Under the name of deep cleaning, they are actually deeply cleaning the vault of BMC, I've raised this concern in the Assembly. It's a significant failure of the BMC to allocate only one day for cleaning wards, a task that should be a daily affair. Previously, we saw the Chief Minister visit 60ft road, and now the BMC Commissioner is on 90ft road. It's ironic how they clean the roads, only for them to be covered in dirt the very next day. They're wasting copious amounts of water by simply splashing it onto the main roads. Moreover, they haven't ventured into Dharavi's narrow alleys; who will address the internal issues?"

"Unless the CM orders, they refuse to budge from their cabins"

Gaikwad emphasized the need for the Commissioner to make regular visits to wards and follow up on initiatives. She criticized the tendency to act only when instructed by the Chief Minister, stating, "Unless the CM orders, they refuse to budge from their cabins. This appears to be merely a page 3 event; it's time to get down to real work. Dharavi has always been neglected; we haven't received any funds from the BMC nor been included in any beautification projects. It seems like the IAS officers are working for the Chief Minister's interests; they've forgotten their duties and have become Brand Ambassadors for the Chief Minister. Regardless of whether it's a state government or BMC initiative, local MLAs should be involved. However, they exclude us as we're not part of their political party." Gaikwad's remarks underscore the urgent need for genuine action and inclusion in local development efforts.

Panchashil Otis, a resident of Dharavi, voiced his frustration, stating, "Nobody even bothers to glance at the Dharavi gullies. The purported deep cleaning effort was confined to the main roads, completely disregarding the critical gullies of Dharavi plagued with serious issues." Otis condemned the superficiality of the cleaning endeavor, asserting, "This so-called cleaning is merely a facade. It's imperative that people also recognize the partial nature of this effort." He further highlighted the paradoxical situation, remarking, "While abundant water is indiscriminately sprayed during cleaning, Dharavi continues to suffer from a scarcity of drinking water. It's disheartening that in a place grappling with water shortages, water is squandered in copious amounts. How ironic!" Otis's remarks poignantly illustrate the discrepancy between the municipality's actions and the genuine needs of the community.

Official claims Vs on-ground realities

The disparity between official claims and on-ground realities raises questions about the effectiveness and sincerity of the BMC's efforts. Despite boasting of collecting two and a half thousand metric tons of waste from the slum area, the BMC's failure to address core issues like water scarcity and inadequate sanitation infrastructure underscores the superficiality of its approach.

In response to criticisms, BMC Commissioner and Administrator Dr. Iqbal Singh Chahal emphasised the importance of the cleanliness campaign as a people's movement. He outlined ongoing efforts to clean small roads, footpaths, and slum areas, highlighting the significance of wet-dry waste sorting and drain cleaning. However, the Commissioner's reassurances ring hollow in the face of mounting dissatisfaction among residents and local representatives.

As Mumbai grapples with environmental challenges and public health concerns, the need for genuine, sustained efforts towards cleanliness and sanitation cannot be overstated. The BMC's ambitious campaigns must translate into tangible improvements for all residents, rather than serving as mere publicity stunts. Until then, the promise of a clean, beautiful, and green Mumbai remains elusive for many.

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