The Lutyens’ zone in Delhi – administered by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) – was adjudged the cleanest among 372 Indian cities with populations between 100,000 and a million, according to the Swachh Survekshan 2021 rankings released on Saturday.
At the same time, two other zones in the Capital ranked among the lowest: neighbourhoods under the North Delhi municipal corporation was the fourth dirtiest with a population of over a million, the survey found, while the East Delhi corporation was in the bottom 10.
NDMC improved on its 2020 ranking, when it clinched the third spot in the survey, even as the North Delhi Municipal Corporation fell from 43rd to 45th on the rankings, out of 48 cities, while the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) climbed from 46th last year to 40th this year.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) was ranked 31st, the same as 2020.
Swachh Sarvekshan is the central government’s annual survey on cleanliness under the Swachh Bharat Mission. This was the sixth edition of the survey introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016. The survey covered 4,320 cities this year.
NDMC was also adjudged a five-star garbage-free city.
The Delhi Cantonment Board was ranked third in the survey in the cantonment boards’ category.
NDMC chairman Dharmendra (who goes by a single name) credited the council’s frontline workers for helping it reach the summit of the rankings.
“The credit of this success goes completely to our frontline workers, including all the staff of health and sanitation departments. The role of different residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) and market associations can never be ignored, without whom getting the top rank will have remained a mirage,” he said.
Sanjay Sahay, SDMC director (press and information) said the civic took heart from the fact that it performed the best among Delhi’s civic bodies.
“SDMC has done a lot of work in the field of cleanliness in the last few years that will certainly improve our rankings in the coming surveys,” he said.
The EDMC, in a press statement, said “it is heartening that EDMC has scored far better than last year’s survey and has performed well in all the three parameters.”
Despite repeated attempts, North MCD officials could not be reached for comment.
Bharati Chaturvedi, founder and director of Chintan – an NGO that has worked with Delhi’s civic bodies– said that NDMC has several natural advantages.
“Since NDMC has utilised those advantages, like substantial commercial areas, in the best way, it has been ranked first. On the other hand, the three MCDs don’t have enough funds, particularly after the trifurcation [of the unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi]. But, I am sure that these corporations will get better ranks in coming years as the staff there are really working hard,” she said.