Surat: A year of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and story of a not so “swachh” area

An open drain flowing beside her abode and there amidst garbage is the playground of her three year old kid. Here is where “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” never saw light



Every night workers of Surat Municipal are out on roads as the city people get back home to clean the city. Surat, the city that can brag of Swachh Bharat rankings is the centre of diamond and textile business. Urban Surat witnesses the advent of Chief Minister often or celebrities from Mumbai, other dignitaries and corporate heads.

Here in Surat there are corporate groups like PP Savani Group has even won a place in Guinness Books of Records for setting cleaning records promoting PM’s Swachh Bharat Campaign.

Tucked away from the glare of visitors of the city is the area which is abode of textile workers who are mostly migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. Pandesera is about ten kilometres away from urban Surat. Centre of about 200 industries and home of about Apathy of local civic bodies and health department reeks out of the open drains, heaps of garbage, shut down Anganwadicentres.

5A garbage dumped open canal flows across Pandesera which could possibly be breeding ground of all kind of water and mosquito borne diseases. “The Swachh Bharat campaign is merely keeping prime areas of the city garbage free while we are suffering,” said Hitesh, a resident of the locality.

A rather angst Geeta, woman in her late thirties says, “What campaign has ever given us anything? Nobody ever visits this side of the city. We are the hands and limbs of the textile industry of the textile hub and yet the abysmal state we live in. We come in hope of jobs here from other states and are forced to have a standard of life sans health or hygiene.”

Many were out with a broom on roads today marking one year completion of Prime Minister NarendraModi’sSwachh Bharat Abhiyan. A campaign that was launched with pomp and show with Prime Minister himself sweeping a road at New Delhi. A well-publicised campaign saw bureaucrats, Chief Ministers and civic bodies come up with many public cleanliness drives.

“But why no cleanliness drive ever was launched in our locality?” asks Krishna. That is a question which probably every resident of the locality would want to ask.

Cadets of NCC, Surat Municipal Corporation’s Mayor NiranjanJhanjhmera, school students et al contributed to Swachh Bharat campaign or celebrated marking the occasion. People were out sweeping roads of the city which is already being maintained by the civic body. But one question does rise here, why not the campaign reached where it’s needed most and why “carry coal to Newcastle” by promoting the campaign with broom on roads in urban Surat.

NiranjanJhanjhmera, SMC Mayor however commented today, “Controlling outbreak of diseases is not SMC or my responsibility.”