File photo of Police Bazaar in Shillong | Photo Courtesy: The Shillong Times

The Meghalaya government on August 21 termed as ‘unfortunate’ the low ranking of the state capital in terms of cleanliness in a recent survey.

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“It is very unfortunate that the capital city of Shillong was ranked very low in terms of cleanliness according to the nationwide survey, Swachh Survekshan 2020. A thorough introspection was made by the Department of Urban Affairs and the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB). The ranking was based largely on four parameters consisting of certification, service levels, direct observation and citizen feedback,” Urban Affairs Minister Hamletson Dohling said.

“The SMB scored very well in a service level parameter which carries 1500 marks. The scoring was based on the data which was taken from the MIS uploaded by the SMB on the Swachh Bharat Mission portal every quarter of last year. There are however a few indicators in this parameter in which the SMB did not score well namely the processing and disposal indicators as the infrastructure for processing and sanitary land-fill was still under construction,” the minister informed.

“In the certification parameter which carries total marks of 1500, also the SMB did not score well as it is yet to be a certified Garbage Free City. Besides in the absence of a sewerage system which is a legacy issue, the city scored low in the sustainable sanitation indicator as well,” Dohling pointed out.

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“Also there was a lack of participation by the citizens of the city in the survey conducted through the MyGov app for their feedback. This has also resulted in the loss of about 1500 marks,” the minister maintained.

However, Dohling said that in spite of the ranking the city had gone through a significant improvement in terms of cleanliness.

“Shillong was the first city in the country to have practised segregation at source, with over 70 per cent household in the city complying since 2015-16, even before the SWM Rules 2016 had made segregation mandatory for all,” he specified.

“We were also among the firsts to do away with intermediate storage of waste (community bins) in residential localities, where door to door collection of waste is being carried out. On the processing and disposal, the installation of 170 tons per day compost plant and 8500 sq.m sanitary landfill are almost completed. The state has also notified the Meghalaya Solid Waste Management Policy. Therefore, to simply categorise Shillong as one of the dirtiest cities in the country is an incorrect assessment,” the Urban Affairs minister asserted.

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