An interview with Smt. Sanyukta Bhatia, Mayor of Lucknow
Recently, In the ranking of clean cities of India or the Swatch Bharat Survey, Lucknow landed the 115th position. For many of us that would have been one hard pill to swallow, seeing your city’s position which is not even in the top hundred. However, we have actually progressed as we have moved from the position of 269 to 115.
In my interview with Hon. Mayor I tried to uncover the efforts that have been put behind helping the city to improve its ranking. This interview also covered a wide range of efforts undertaken by Lucknow Municipal corporation under the leadership of Smt. Sanyukta Bhatia.
What are your thoughts on the recent rankings?
There has been change as the rankings have moved but it is not as much as is required and the reason for it is that some cleaning staff of the municipality have been lazy in their work and from the time I have taken in charge I have tried to be strict with them. Another major reason is that there is no awareness or involvement from the public. For example, The drains during the monsoon season always get clogged because of the amount of stuff that has been thrown in them. This time i had instructed the staff to clean in it in advance. There was a strict checking and we tried to cover as much as possible but people come and throw garbage sometimes even when the dustbin is right there. We have found mattresses, blanket, entire car seat floating in these drains. The citizens of this city really need to wake up.
- What methods have you undertaken to bring awareness amongst the citizens?
I have asked the various organization in the city to work together for one cause. To focus on one thing at a time. We have various organization working for various things like blood donation, plant drive and I appealed to all these organizations to focus on cleanliness drive. I also do surprise checking to keep the departments in check. Citizens inform us where areas are not being cleaned, where staff used to miss work and I am trying hard to change this.
- What further are you planning to do to push this issue?
I will try my level best to raise awareness, and be even more strict with my own department but if despite all the efforts I am unable to to bring forth result then I will penalise the wrong doers from next year. I mean there was this one time where we spent an entire night getting a divider painted and the next morning we saw people spitting tobacco on that newly painted divider. People, unfortunately, do not consider this city their own.
- Lucknow has a lot of controversy surrounding parks. It feels every government that comes in power tries to make the biggest park possible. Would you agree that right now we need not one big park but small parks in every area?
Actually we have a lot of Parks in Lucknow. Every ward has around 100-150 parks but mainiting is very hard. So we are now trying to maintain the park we build because making the park is easy but it is the maintenance that is tough. We would be involved for over a month and then we would try to inculcate the citizens into taking responsibility of the park because we have 16000 parks and it is very difficult to maintain these many parks.
- How can people be more involved?
After we have developed the park, people who use the park can form a committee like the joggers, and the people who live around that area. We can help them in forming a committee and then they can further take care of the park. A team could be held responsible and the Nagar Nigam can support them financially. They just need to help in maintenance. People need to step up and take ownership of the city. Their involvement is a must and no government can clean any city without their contribution.
Picture courtesy: Mohsin Siddiqui
Hon. Mayor has pledged to bring the city to number one and she believes that if we all unite to clean it will be possible. Cleanliness is not just about the aesthetic beauty of the city but primarily for our health. The cleanliness drive would go a long way in controlling the pollution of the city and improving the living condition of every citizen. We might think that getting involved with the local government or contributing is a difficult job or is too much of an hassle but sometimes it is just a matter of a phone call, of making yourself available and of volunteering. The Nagar Nigam or the Municipality needs more volunteers and support from public. Lucknow needs more support.
(The interview was conducted in Hindi and has been translated by the Author of this article)