At least 2 major cities Tirupathi and Vijayawada won 3 Star Rating for Garbage Free Cities while 4 other cities including Visakhapatnam, Chirala, Palamaneru and Sattenapalli won the 1star out of 141 cities in the country given Star ratings by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
Announcing the results of Star Ratings for Garbage Free Cities here at an event in New Delhi today, the Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep S Puri hs informed that for the assessment year 2019-2020, a total of six cities have been certified as 5-Star (Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysuru, Indore and Navi Mumbai), 65 cities as 3-Star and 70 cities as 1-Star.
However, no city was selected from Telangana for any rating in this competition. The Star Rating Protocol was launched by the Ministry in January 2018 to institutionalize a mechanism for cities to achieve Garbage Free status and to motivate cities to achieve higher degrees of cleanliness.
Addressing the media, the Minister said, “The importance of sanitation and effective solid waste management has been brought to the forefront now due to the COVID crisis. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the present situation could have been much worse had it not been for the critical part that SBM-U has played in the last five years to ensure a high degree of cleanliness and sanitation in urban areas. Five years ago, we introduced Swachh Survekshan (SS), the annual cleanliness survey for urban India that has proven immensely successful when it comes to improving urban cleanliness through a spirit of healthy competition.
However, he said, since it is a ranking system, several of our cities, despite doing exceptionally well, were not being recognized appropriately. The Ministry, therefore, devised the Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Cities – a comprehensive framework similar to our examination systems where each ward in every city must achieve a certain standard across 24 different components of solid waste management (SWM) and is graded based on overall marks received”. He further added, “Our aim is to institutionalize as well as bring consistency and transparency when it comes to SWM. This certification is not only an acknowledgement of the clean status of Urban Local Bodies and strengthened SWM systems but also a mark of trust and reliability akin to universally known standards. Moreover, the performance of cities under the Star Rating Protocol is crucial as it carries significant weightage when it comes to their final assessment in Swachh Survekshan.”
The protocol has been devised in a holistic manner including components such as the cleanliness of drains & water bodies, plastic waste management, managing construction & demolition waste, etc. which are critical drivers for achieving garbage-free cities. While the key thrust of this protocol is on SWM, it also takes care of ensuring certain minimum standards of sanitation through a set of prerequisites defined in the framework.
Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs Durga Shanker Mishra who was also present said: “We developed a three-stage assessment process. In the first stage, ULBs populate their progress data on the portal along with supporting documents within a particular timeframe. The second stage involves a desktop assessment by a third-party agency selected and appointed by MoHUA. Claims of cities that clear the desktop assessment are then verified through independent field-level observations. In the recent phase of Star Rating Assessment, 1435 cities applied. During the assessments, 1.19 crore citizen feedbacks and over 10 lakh geo-tagged pictures were collected and 5175 solid waste processing plants were visited by 1210 field assessors. While 698 cities cleared the desktop assessment, 141 cities have been certified with Star Rating during field assessment. The low number of certifications signifies the rigorous and robust certification mechanism of the protocol”.