The Swachh Survekshan report of 2018 has revealed that 19 out of the 25 dirtiest cities in India are from West Bengal. Swachh Survekshan is released by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to encourage cities in urban sanitation. The survey is conducted under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the Modi government’s trademark campaign to clean up the streets, roads, and infrastructure of India’s cities, smaller towns, and rural areas. The first survey was released in 2016 in which all the state capitals and cities with more than one million populations were ranked. Mysore had topped the list in 2016. In 2017 survey of 434 cities with over 100,000 population and all the state capitals were ranked. Indore had emerged as the cleanest city in this survey. In the 2018 survey government decided to expand the exercise throughout the country in the cities with more than 1 lakh population. The survey covered 4203 Cities including 61 Cantonment Boards.
In Swachh Bharat survey 2018, Jharkhand has adjudged the best performing state followed by Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. West Bengal was among worst performing states with the cities like Darjeeling, Siliguri, Serampore, Madhyamgram, North Barrackpore, Bankura, fared abysmally on all sanitation indicators such as waste collection, open defecation, solid waste processing, and disposal. Cities were ranked on the basis of their performance in six parameters including collection and transportation of municipal solid waste, their processing and disposal, sanitation-related progress, innovation and best practices adopted by cities.
The West Bengal led Mamata Banerjee did not participate in the previous two surveys in 2016, 2017. The reason Banerjee did not allow the state to participate is perhaps she knew that the cities would fare worse since nothing has been done by her administration to maintain cleanliness in the state. West Bengal was among the bottom four dirtiest states in the country followed by Nagaland, Puducherry, and Tripura. As per the survey, Indore was the cleanest city for the second year in a row followed by Bhopal and Chandigarh. Subrata Gupta, West Bengal principal secretary (urban affairs and municipal affairs department) said, “I am not aware of any such survey. I have not seen the survey report and won’t be able to comment on it. The state, however, runs its own cleanliness program called Nirmal Bangla as part of which we rank our cities.”
The administration of West Bengal is operating in isolation without any cooperation with the central government. Mamata Banerjee has taken the anti-BJP stance so seriously that she does not cooperate with the central government even in developmental programs like Swachh Bharat Mission. The central government keeps emphasizing on cooperative federalism and many states like Odisha, Andhra Pradesh run by non-BJP government has appreciated them for it. An impartial survey was done by a third party on behalf of the government but then West Bengal government is wasting resources by conducting its own survey in which it might rank the state as the cleanest place in the world. Mamata Banerjee administration in the state failed completely on every front, it could not even conduct free and fair local elections, and TMC workers murdered some of the BJP supporters during local elections. There has been regular riots and communal violence in the state in which the TMC workers were found to be involved. On the development indicators like sanitation, poverty elevation, health indicators, the state has fared badly. West Bengal used to be among most prosperous states in the country in the post-independence period but its economy was ruined by the Communist and the TMC administration. Under the tutelage of Mamata Banerjee, no one knows what lies ahead for West Bengal.