Mandi in Himachal Pradesh is the cleanest district in the hilly areas of rural India, whereas Sindhudurg in Maharashtra has earned the tag of the cleanest among districts in plains, according to a report released by Drinking Water and Sanitation Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
A total of 22 hill districts and 53 plain areas were assessed under the Gramin Swachh Survekshan launched in May this year.
The top 10 cleanest districts in plains as per the Quality Council of India (QCI) survey,
are Satara, Kolhapur, Ratnagiri and Thane in Maharashtra; Nadia, Midnapur East and Hoogly in West Bengal; Udupi in Karnataka and Churu in Rajasthan.
From the hilly regions, Shimla, Hamirpur, Kullu and Chamba in Himachal Pradesh; West Sikkim, East Sikkim, South Sikkim and North Sikkim in Sikkim and Mizoram’s Champhai districts have made it to the top 10 cleanest districts.
The survey puts Bikaner, Ajmer, Pali and Dungarpur in Rajasthan; Ahmedabad, Anand and Panchmahal in Gujarat; Gadag in Karnataka; Sirsa in Haryana and Perambaluru in Tamil Nadu at the bottom of the list relating to districts in plains.
On the other hand, Anjaw, Papum Pare, Changlang, West Siang and West Kameng in Arunachal Pradesh; Jaintia Hills, East Garo Hills and Ri Bhoi in Meghalaya; Bongaigaon in Assam and Lahul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh are ranked at the bottom of the list of districts from hilly belt in North-East and Special Category.
Tomar-led Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, which got the survey conducted during May and June this year, though maintained that the districts placed at the bottom of the list were not “worst performing”.
“Ever since the survey was launched nearly two years ago, we had identified 75 better performing districts as far as the Swachh Bharat campaign is considered. So, we carried out a third party field survey of these districts to see the reality this year.
“So, these are not badly performing districts. It is just that some of the well performing districts are doing better than others,” a Ministry official said.
The QCI surveyed 70,000 households before ranking them. It studied more than 1,050 households in plain regions, while in hilly areas, over 350 households were inspected, a report said.
The survey on sanitation was conducted based on four parameters: percentage of households having access to safe toilets and their usage (40 per cent weightage), households having no litter around (30 per cent); average score of cleanliness (out of 100) around public places (20 per cent) and households having no wastewater around (10 per cent), officials said.
“During the survey we went beyond the only parameter of construction of toilets and their use. The survey was comprehensive with other parameters included. We hope the cleanliness ranking will have positive impact in strengthening the campaign,” Tomar told reporters.
Tomar said while the survey results pertained to only 75 of the total over 600 districts in the country, the government was ensuring the cleanliness campaign goes on across the country.
He stated that 18 districts, 237 blocks, over 34,000 gram panchayats and little more than 76,000 villages had already declared themselves as open defecation free (ODF).
The government targets to make India ODF by 2019.
Parameswaran Iyer, secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation said the survey results had shown that the usage of toilets in rural areas was on higher side.
He also acknowledged efforts put in by QCI, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) for their role in the work.
According to the results, Sindhudurg, Nadia, Satara, Midnapur East, Kolhapur, Hoogly, Udupi, Ratnagiri, Thane and Churu scored 96.8, 95, 92.9, 92.6, 91.6, 91.5, 91, 90.9, 88.7 and 88.4 marks respectively out of 100.
On the other hand, Mandi, West Sikkim, Shimla, East Sikkim, Hamirpur, South Sikkim, Kullu, North Sikkim, Champhai and Chamba scored 98.4, 96.4, 94.1, 93.7, 93.4, 93, 91, 90.7, 90.1 and 90 marks respectively based on the parameters fixed.
Ministry officials, however, said that beyond the survey, they continue to monitor implementation of the programme across the country and preparing data to check which well-performing districts need more attention.
(With agency input)