Thiruvananthapuram: The state Suchitwa Mission has written to the state government requesting it to seek clarity from the Ministry of Urban Development regarding the Swachh Sarvekshan survey ranking. No city in Kerala has come in the top 250 ranks, which surprised the state governments as well as the mission. Moreover, sources say that a verification team from the Ministry of Urban Development had rejected the ODF status of 25 urban local bodies in Kerala, and only 17 have been approved. In each of those ULBs, toilets were built.
Suchitwa Mission executive director K. Vasuki confirmed that a letter had been sent to the state government to seek clarity from the MoUD. Thiruvananthapuram, which had secured the 40th rank in Swachh Sarvekshan 2016, was at 372nd position in the 2017 survey. Alappuzha, which according to a survey by the Centre for Science and Environment was one of the three cleanest cities in the country, was given the 380th position. Then the mission had noted that the survey was entirely based on a centralised waste management system.
As this would not suit Kerala which encourages the source-level waste management system, the mission had proposed to Swachh Bharath that the survey be modified for Kerala. But the questionnaire available on the Swachh Sarvekshan site reveals that the suggestion was not taken into account. Sources in the mission say that even if one argues that Kerala’s coasts are yet to be open defecation-free, it is much better than other Indian states. Mayor V.K. Prasanth had said that the ranking must have been a political decision. Many others support the idea. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gujarat and MoUD Minister Venkaiah Naidu’s Andhra are among the first states to be ODF, they point out.