MCC’s two vision groups
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MCC’s two vision groups

January 13, 2022

Solid Waste Management and Beautifying Parks

By Bhamy V. Shenoy and S. Shobana

During the short period that Shilpa Nag served as Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) Commissioner, two vision groups were formed despite the pandemic.

Vision of the first one is to make Mysuru free of Single Use Plastic (SUP) through people-driven movement to have cleaner streets, free flowing storm water drains, garbage-free parks and communities. Vision of the second is to re-establish Mysuru as a Garden City by developing all 520 parks. Vision documents elaborated the short, medium and long term action plans along with goals and strategies. Input was sought even from non-members with expertise to refine these documents.

The inaugural meeting was online because of the pandemic. It took place on Apr. 24,                                                          2021. Members of both these groups headed by the Commissioner were mostly activists from Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP), Clean Mysuru, Namma Mysuru, Kotivriksha, experts and MCC staff.

Unfortunately, Shilpa Nag  could not implement them because of her untimely and unfortunate transfer. Only on Dec. 21, 2021 serious efforts were started under the leadership of G. Lakshmikantha Reddy, her successor.

The Commissioner wanted the vision group to take up the issue of keeping Mysuru clean by handling the more comprehensive issue of garbage rather than dealing with only SUP. It was decided to start initially to take up five pilot Wards in Yadavagiri, Jayalakshmipuram, Gokulam and N.R. Mohalla, involving the local Corporators.

It was also decided to get the active involvement of the younger generation through the active participation of students in high schools and colleges.

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Despite all the efforts of MCC — educating the public on the need to segregate, imposing fines for their failure to do so, providing different bins to store segregated garbage, wide publicity given to cleanliness programmes, etc. — in most Wards, segregation is still not taking place.

When fines are imposed, the public express their dissent to their Corporators, who in turn force the MCC staff to waive the penalty. It was clear that unless there is whole-hearted public participation, it is not possible to keep Mysuru clean.

Though there is already a Health Committee which is looking after SWM, it was agreed that every effort will be made to have a separate Committee (Mysuru Committee for Cleanliness) headed by the Mayor, to take up exclusively the SWM, in order to work towards keeping the city clean.

To stop people throwing garbage anywhere and everywhere, efforts will be made to install CCTV and to impose heavy penalties without any exception.

Unlike in the case of SWM, there is not much funds available in the Horticulture Department, for maintaining the listed 520 parks (although the actual number may exceed 700) in the city. Equally worse is the manpower situation in the Horticulture Department. SWM has a group of enthusiastic young environmental engineers who feel the urge to make a difference. But the Horticulture Department lacks this.

A good beginning has been made to make an inventory of all parks in the city. One can get information on most of the known parks through a Google map.

If Mysureans are really interested in beautifying the city and making it a garden city again, we should convince the MCC Council to allocate the necessary funds and manpower for maintenance of the parks.

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NGOs present in the meeting of the vision group have agreed to make an attempt to contact potential donors to adopt parks. On its part, MCC will try to recruit volunteers to serve as Park Wardens for each Ward. At least two to three may be required for each Ward depending upon the layout and size of the Ward.

If MCC is successful in implementing a Park Warden programme, a new beginning would be made to beautify the city. To attract volunteers, it is useful to appreciate the selfless work done by a tree-lover, Srikanth of Kotivriksha Pratishtana, who has adopted a MUDA park in Srirampura and is ready to adopt two more parks. If we get committed individuals like him to come forward to act as Park Wardens, Mysuru would doubtless become again a Garden City.

[Bhamy V. Shenoy is Founder-Working-President of MGP and S. Shobana, former Working President of MGP]

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