'Shillong Times' has led several cleanliness drives in the city, with several people taking part in them Credit: Social media

Shillong: Following the recent results of the annual cleanliness survey Swachh Survekshan 2020, in which Shillong was labelled as one of the dirtiest cities, Meghalaya minister of urban affairs Hamletson Dohling on Friday expressed disappointment and said that it was an incorrect assessment categorising the capital city as one of the dirtiest.

Dohling said that a thorough introspection was made by the department and the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB). The ranking was based largely on four parameters consisting of certification, service levels, direct observation and citizen feedback.

Terming it as unfortunate for the rank received by the capital city, Dohling explained that the SMB scored very well in a service level parameter which carries 1,500 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, he said.

“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,” Dohling said.

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In the certification parameter too, which carries total marks of 1,500, 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, he said.

Also, there was a lack of participation by the citizens of the city in the survey conducted through the MyGov app. This has also resulted in the loss of about 1,500 marks, Dohling said.

He also mentioned that in spite of the ranking, the city has gone through a significant improvement in terms of cleanliness.

According to Dohling, Shillong was the first city in the country to have practised segregation at source, with over 70% household in the city complying since 2015-16, even before the SWM Rules 2016 had made segregation mandatory for all.

The state was among the first 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 8,500 sq m sanitary landfill are almost completed. The state has also notified the Meghalaya Solid Waste Management Policy, Dohling said.

“Therefore, to simply categorise Shillong as one of the dirtiest cities in the country, is an incorrect assessment,” added Dohling.

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