Mysuru/Mysore: Tomorrow Jan. 31 is the last day for Swachh Survekshan-2020 survey to conclude and there is a scramble to get good rating with an army of officials, volunteers and NGOs themselves providing citizens’ feedback on the Mysuru City Corporation’s waste management rating.
Mysuru is vying to get back the Numero Uno spot in Cleanest City rankings that it had consecutively gained in 2015 and 2016 but eventually lost to other cities later. And for this, public participation in Swachhatha App is given more weightage. This year the citizen’s feedback carries 1,250 marks and Mysureans should download the App or call toll free number 1969 to register their feedback.
Deciding to take matters in its own hands, officials, volunteers, Assistant Engineers, Junior Health Inspectors and other officials are recording citizens’ feedback on waste management. But the drawback here is that the officials are filling up the details themselves and citizens not having a role in it!
Collecting OTPs: Officials and volunteers are visiting offices, commercial establishments, schools and colleges where the mobile phones are collected to enter the details. Officials are requesting their mobile number and OTP (one-time password) after briefing them about the ranking and the citizen feedback. As per the standards set by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, a key component of Swachh Survekshan- 2020 is citizen feedback.
Once the App is downloaded, the survey asks the user for his/her State, City and Ward details and mobile number for the OTP. The survey has eight questions, ranging from rating of cleanliness in residential and commercial areas to open-defecation-free status of the city. In all, it has eight questions after which the OTP has to be entered to complete the survey.
Citizen participation or official participation?
The problem here is that the officials are themselves entering the details and collecting the OTP to be entered and for the survey to complete. “They took our phone numbers, then the OTP that was sent to us and they filled the citizen feedback page on their own. We didn’t have to answer the questionnaire. If officials are themselves entering the details, I am sure that they give excellent rating though the ground-level reality is different. It is not citizen participation but an official participation,” said B.N. Ramanath who refused to give his mobile phone and volunteered to enter the details himself instead of somebody entering it on his behalf.
Citizens can also vote for Mysuru in the survey by going to the webpage https://swachhsurvekshan2020.org/CitizenFeedback
Officials given target to collect OTPs
Sources said that each official has been given a target of ‘collecting OTPs’ and they are supposed to report the figures to their bosses who will, in turn, calculate the number of voting at the end of the day. “There is a mad scramble to download the App and collect the OTP after citizen feedback. If the MCC had tackled waste management with the same zeal earlier, we would have automatically got the top spot without this last-minute effort,” said Sriharsha who runs an automobile company.
Officials, however, are defending the move and said that they were forced to take this step as the citizen’s response was not on the expected lines.
Cities such as Indore and Ambikapur overtook Mysuru as they received maximum votes from their residents and Mysuru slipped in ranking although the city obtained good scores in other parameters. Mysuru has better infrastructure and better waste management mechanism that are required for a Cleanest City ranking, they reason.
MCC Health Officer Dr. D.G. Nagaraj told Star of Mysore that as of yesterday, 95,000 citizens have given their feedback.
“We are targeting 30,000 more today and till the end of tomorrow’s voting. We have not appointed volunteers for the task but we are getting cooperation from schools and colleges, companies and NGOs who are performing the role of volunteers encouraging people to vote in the Swachhatha App,” he said.
New team in Mysuru
Meanwhile, the Swachh Survekshan-2020 team has completed its appraisal of Mysuru on the clean front. Now, another team has landed in city for assessing the city’s garbage-free status to accord the star rating. Mysuru had obtained five-star rating last year.
The first team had assessed Mysuru’s status on the cleanliness front and it took about four days to assess the city. The team inspected all facilities including sewage farm, sewage treatment plants, solid waste management and recycling units and also conducted Ward visits. The new team will focus only on the garbage disposal, MCC sources added.