Malegaon: The Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) Monday observed a day-long ‘Clean Malegaon’ campaign to create awareness about sanitation and cleanliness in the powerloom city now known as ‘City of filth’.
The campaign, which was led by Mayor Ibrahim National and Commissioner Latish Deshmukh, began at 09:00 in the morning from Shivaji Statue, and except for a short break for lunch, ran the entire day before culminating at 05:00 in the evening at Rafee Ahmed Qedwai Road.
Holding brooms in their hands, the entire municipal staff including senior officers walked from Shivaji Statue to Old Daregaon Naka along the Old Agra Road, Mosum Bridge to Satana Road, from Satana Naka to Malegaon Camp and from Kusumba Road to Rafee Ahmed Qedwai Road covering more than 05 kms route.
“As far as sanitation and cleanliness are concerned, situation in Malegaon is very poor. The campaign was necessary to create awareness among the citizens on the issue”, Commissioner Latish Deshmukh, a Ph.D. on sanitation, said while talking to ummid.com.
Throughout the route the Commissioner was seen issuing directions to the concerned officers and staff for the necessary follow-up actions to be taken once the day-long drive is over.
Bouquets and Brickbats
The Commissioner, Mayor and other civic staff with brooms in their hands and cleaning the road was a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for many in the city. Overwhelmed by the campaign Rashid Ahmed, a tea vendor, offered milk to the civic staff.
“This is the first time in the history of the city that such an initiative has been taken”, he said while congratulating the commissioner for his effort.
However, there were quite a few people who were unimpressed and termed the campaign an ‘eye-wash’, ‘tokenism’ and a mere ‘photo-op’ moment. At many places, the municipal staff was greeted with the cries of ‘Andar Aa kar dekho, Andar Aa kar dekho’ (come inside and see) by the people standing in the by-lanes.
“I have never seen anyone from the civic body to clean the drainage in front of my compound in the last two years. How can a campaign of one or two days clear the mess of two years”, Aarif Sajjad of Sona Cold Storage moaned to the commissioner.
Ab.Mateen of Metro Cushions was equally unhappy. He said ever since he has opened his shop, he has not seen any sweeper of the civic body for cleaning of the road.
Local MLAs give the campaign a miss
Ironically, local MLAs Asif Shaikh Rasheed and Dada Bhuse, who is also a minister in the state cabinet, were missing from the ‘day-long’ roadshow.
Also missing from the scene were the corporators. Barring Bulund Iqbal, the Janata Dal corporator who joined the campaign with Mustaqeem Dignity, Shan-e-Hind and other party workers, no other corporator was seen participating in the campaign.
“Dada Bhuse had given his nod a day before. But, he is now inaccessible”, Sachin Bhamre, PS to the Commissioner, said.
Local MLA Asif Shaikh Rasheed however criticized the campaign stating that the civic body is trying to hide its failure by organizing such drive.
"Sanitation and cleanliness require tough measures. The civic body can't escape of its responsibilities merely by organizing such campaigns", he said.
Demand for a permanent solution
As the civic staff hit the road to create awareness about cleanliness, demand for a permanent and long lasting solution was raised from almost every corner of the city – with a majority expressing the view that Water Grace Pvt. Ltd, the private contractor responsible for dumping the waste, is unfit for the job.
“Some two and half years ago, Water Grace Pvt Ltd was given the contract with a promise that the city will be turned into Singapore. Far from becoming Singapore, the city once famous for its powerlooms is now known everywhere as ‘City of filth’. To change this, the civic body needs to take tough measures, not a day-long campaign”, Prof Yusuf Ansari said.