Chandigarh is India's cleanest city
Chandigarh has emerged as the cleanest city in India, with a rating of 73.48 points for sanitation, as per a study conducted by ministry of urban development.
In order to keep its ranking and reputation as the greenest and cleanest city in India, the administration of Chandigarh is considering a green code for the city. The administration is holding talks with The Energy and Resources Institute to work on the implementation of the code. If the code is implemented, buildings in the city will have to be environment-friendly including use of natural construction material and lower energy consumption. Chandigarh is also on the way to become the country's first solar city in 2016.
Image: An illuminated Gurdwara, or Sikh temple, in Chandigarh
Photographs: Ajay Verma/Reuters
Cities tested for sanitation
The study, which ranks 423 Indian cities in terms of sanitation and cleanliness, is the first of its kind. It is the ministry's first step towards achieving its ambitious agenda of '100 percent sanitation' in major Indian cities.
Various expert agencies were involved to assess the status of sanitation on the spot in Class I cities. Technical experts analysed the data collected and awarded points on various parameters. On the basis of their performance, cities were classified in four categories -- green, blue, black and red -- in descending order. No city could qualify in the highest 'green' category, while only four cities fell in the 'blue' category.
Image: An aerial view of Marina beach in Chennai
Smaller cities take the lead
The study, which covered cities with a population of more than 1 lakh, has thrown up a few surprises. Smaller cities like Chandigarh, Mysore, Mangalore, Jamshedpur and Surat took the top positions, leaving bigger cities like Mumbai and Bengaluru, which boast of massive resources and better urban infrastructure, far behind.
Image: People attend the annual Dussehra celebration in Mysore
Photographs: Jagadeesh Nv/Reuters
UP, Bihar trail behind
Delhi is the only metropolis to figure among the top 10 cities. Not surprisingly, most cities and towns at the bottom of the rung are from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Image: A man carries a water container as he walks on a street in the old quarters of Delhi
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
Centre on a cleanliness drive
The ministry spent a whopping Rs 3.5 crore on the study that was conducted jointly by AC Nielsen, Development & Research Services and the Centre for Environment Planning Technology. The ministry plans to spend a further Rs 25 crore on its sanitation campaign.
Image: Crowds at a rally by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata
No 'green' city in India
But the urban development ministry has plenty of reasons to worry. None of the Indian cities could make it to the green category, indicating best sanitation and cleanliness standards. Only four cities managed a berth in the blue category, scoring between a decent 65 percent and 75 percent in the study.
Image: Villagers cover themselves from a sandstorm near India-Nepal border in Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh
Photographs: Pawan Kumar/Reuters
Red alert for many cities
As many as 190 cities fell in the 'red' category, scoring less than 33.5 points for sanitation. Several popular tourist spots like Ajmer, Gwalior, Shimla and Varanasi fare dismally and fall in the last category.
Image: A view of Commercial Street in Bengaluru
Churu in Rajasthan ranks lowest
Churu in Rajasthan has the dubious distinction of being the least clean city in India, with a score as low as 16.75. Srinagar, one of the country's most frequented tourist havens, is ranked at a shocking 420 with 17.17 points.
Image: A Kashmiri man rows a boat through the polluted waters of Dal Lake in Srinagar
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters
Mumbai at dismal 45th position
Kanpur, often referred to crassly as 'the armpit of Uttar Pradesh' due to widespread pollution, has found a place among the top 10 cities. Kolkata, considered the dirtiest metropolis in India, also manages a decent ranking of 25. In comparison, Mumbai is ranked at a dismal 45th spot, but suburban Mumbai fared better at 11th spot.
Image: Slum children play cricket at Nehru Nagar slums in Mumbai
Photographs: Arko D/Reuters
Indian cities need a makeover
The criteria for the ratings were keeping the city free from open defecation, universal access to toilets, no manual scavenging, treatment of waste, recycling efforts, public heath and environmental well-being.
The study was part of the National Urban Sanitation Policy, launched in 2009, to make Indian cities and towns Nirmal Shahars -- sanitised, healthy and liveable.
Image: A sweeper cleans a gutter near India Gate in New Delhi
Photographs: Kamal Kishore/Reuters
CMs to take charge
Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy exhorted the cities to better their performance and achieve higher rankings. He added that he would write to the chief ministers of various states and urge them to take steps to improve the sanitation level in their cities.
Image: Residents of Hyderabad drive past Charminar
Wake up call for 60 cities
Reddy noted that a number of cities could easily cross the 'red' category -- presently 60 cities fall in the 'red' category.
Similarly, a significant number of cities could become 'Blue' -- there are about a dozen such cities. The minister urged them to plan and implement measures that would make them graduate to the Blue category. Chandigarh, Surat, NDMC and Mysore are in the Blue category.
Image: A Sikh devotee takes a dip in the pond at the Golden temple in Amritsar
Photographs: Munish Sharma/Reuters