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In this article, Amit Garg of NUSRL Ranchi discusses Policy Measures adopted by Uttarakhand for becoming a Swachh State.

Achievements of Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is a state that strived really hard in order to achieve the targets of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. In fulfilling the targets, Uttarakhand was able to gain some achievements. Some of the achievements of Uttarakhand under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan are:

  • By fulfilling all the targets for the year 2015-16, Uttarakhand bagged the title of first Swachh state in India.
  • In the year 2017, Uttarakhand was declared Open Defecation Free and its becomes the fourth state overall to receive this certificate.
  • Applauding the efforts of the state government, the central government has asked other states to learn from the policies and implementation of these policies from Uttarakhand Government.

The Uttarakhand state fulfilling all the targets and being able to achieve various merits in the field of spreading cleanliness across the state has become a source of motivation for all other states in India to spread to message of swachhta as the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi dreams of.

Uttarakhand, previously called as Uttaranchal, is a beautiful state in the northern part of India. Uttarakhand is home to a large number of Hindu temples and large number of pilgrims visit this “Land of Gods”, as it is often called as, to pay homage to these centres. Uttarakhand is the 27th State in the Republic of India which was carved out from the state of Uttar Pradesh on November 9, 2000. Uttarakhand is a hilly region as it is surrounded by a large number of mountains and has the second highest mountain of India, i.e., Nanda Devi. Dehradun, the capital city of Uttarakhand, is one of the 13 districts that this state is divided into. Uttarakhand borders China and Nepal in the north and the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh in the south. The High Court of Uttarakhand is situated in the city of Nainital. Uttarakhand is home to around 10,086,292 civilians of India (as per census 2011) majority of which speak Hindi and these people live in an area of about 53,483 square kilometres of which almost 85 percent of the land is covered by mountains.

In the year 2016, Uttarakhand became the first state across India to fulfill all the targets set under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The deadline set for the fulfilment of the targets was 15 August 2016 but the state completed them well before the stipulated time and so they were provided with an ‘encouragement amount’ by the Central Government. The targets set under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan were as follows:

Annual Targets under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

Sr No. Components 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
a) Individual Household Toilets 25,00,000 35,00,000 35,00,000
b) Community and Public Toilets 1,00,000 2,04,000 2,04,000
c) Solid Waste Management

1)  Achievement of 100% collection and transportation

1,000 1,500 1,500
2)  Achievement of 100% processing and disposal 100 1,000 1,000

Policies of Uttarakhand Government

The dream that our political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Narendra Modi, etc. saw of India being a clean country could have been a distant dream had the states not put in some policy measures to give an effect to the dream. A well established and strict functioning of policies are an essence so that a policy can be successful. Uttarakhand is a state that is seen as a role model for other states for the purpose of achieving cleanliness in the surroundings and remove the menace of dirt that has been a part of India since its inception. To achieve what Uttarakhand has done requires us to study the policies that the Government of Uttarakhand has implemented. Policies that the Government of Uttarakhand implemented to achieve a clean state are:

  • Controller Communication Accounts – In the year 2016, Controller Communications Accounts (CCA) through its staffs and officers conducted a two-fold drive wherein all the cities covered under the drive shall be cleaned. The places that were really focused on by the CCA are all telephone exchange, guest house, and canteens. The first drive began of October 2 and the next drive on November 1, 2016. Each drive was done for a period of 15 days. The drive was conducted under the directions of Manoj Sinha who happens to be minister of state for communication (Independent Charge). Such drives are held regularly so that the state may remain clean.
  • CM Trivendra Singh Rawat – In 2017, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Singh Rawat along with his colleague Madan Kaushik conducted cleanliness drives across the banks of river Ganga in the city of Haridwar. Other members of his cabinet including Satpal Maharaj, Harak Singh Rawat, Prakash Pant and Subodh Uniyal conducted the drive in other parts of the state. This drive was aimed at spreading message among the individuals to maintain cleanliness and hygiene in their surroundings.

Policy for harnessing renewable energy sources in Uttarakhand with private sector/community participation

The Government of Uttarakhand passed a policy measure named “Policy for harnessing renewable energy sources in Uttarakhand with private sector/community participation”.

The objectives of this policy are:

  • To create conditions that are conducive for participation of both the private sectors and the community in projects for renewable energy across the state.
  • To harness the environment friendly renewable resources and enhance their contribution to the socioeconomic development of the State.
  • To meet and supplement minimum rural energy needs through sustainable renewable projects.
  • To provide decentralized energy supply to agriculture, industry, commercial and household sector.
  • To improve the quality of grid power through such projects, as a consequence of tail-end generation and feeding.
  • To enhance the use of energy sources that assist in mitigating environmental pollution.

The measures that the state aims at adopting to achieve the above-mentioned objectives are:

  • Power generation through Hydro projects.
  • Co-generation in industries such as Sugar, Paper, Fertilizer and Chemical etc.
  • Power generation from Biomass / Agricultural residue.
  • Power generation from urban, municipal and industrial waste.
  • Power generation from solar energy.
  • Power generation from wind energy.
  • Power generation from geothermal energy.
  • Energy conservation in domestic, agriculture, industrial, commercial and transport sectors through induction of administrative/statutory/legislative/ technical solutions and imposing stringent conditions for all categories of consumers.

This policy was very effective in combating the pollution level within the state be it water, air, or noise pollution. This policy was every essential for preserving the scarce resources of non-renewable energy as this measure helped in reduction in their usages and thus in a way promoting sustainable development. This policy was an important step in moving towards sustainable development along with the promoting cleanliness in the surrounding as this policy has effectively combated pollution levels in the state of Uttarakhand.

Namami Gange Programme

The government of Uttarakhand following in with the national programme of abatement of pollution and the rejuvenation of the Ganga implemented the initiative Namami Gange Programme that aims at cleaning the river Ganga in all the cities that it flows through across India. For the fulfillment of the initiative, the state has taken several measures to clean the Ganga. After the Uttarakhand High Court gave Ganga the status of “first living entity of India” which gave Ganga all the rights that a living person possess, there has been greater emphasis laid upon cleaning and rejuvenating Ganga. Seeing the initiative put in by the center and state government in Uttarakhand, Belgium has offered its technical expertise in the state’s river cleaning programme.

Guidelines on Solid Waste Management

On responding to a PIL filed by Sai Nath Seva Mandal, the Uttarakhand High Court has issued certain guidelines on solid waste management. In its ruling, a bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia observed that the zenith of civilization depends upon the cleanliness that the city has. It is the fundamental duty of every citizen to maintain cleanliness in the environment. It is a mandatory statutory obligation upon the authorities to dispose of the waste in a proper way. Some of the many guidelines issued by the High Court are:

  • All the streets, public premises such as parks etc. shall be surface cleaned on daily basis, including on Sundays and Public holidays by Municipal Corporations, Nagar Panchayats, Municipal Councils and Panchayati Raj Institutions.
  • All the workers deployed for cleaning the streets and removal of garbage including bio-degradable medical waste should be provided with necessary equipments including uniforms, shoes, gloves and other implements etc. for winters and summers separately and also proper uniforms which have reflectors and be provided with ID cards also.
  • All the District Magistrates in the State of Uttarakhand, in coordination with the Secretary, Urban Development, are directed to ensure identification and allocation of suitable land, as per Clause 11(f) of the Rules of 2016, for setting up of solid waste processing and disposal facilities.
  • The Secretary Panchayats/Rural Development of the State of Uttarakhand is directed to prepare a State Policy and Solid Waste Management Strategy for the entire State in consultation with stakeholders within a period of three months from today.

This PIL has laid down the guidelines that will guide the authorities in proper waste management and thereby lead to the state remaining clean and hygienic.

Anti Littering and Anti Spitting Bill, 2017

In order to prevent the citizens from spitting and littering in the environment, the Trivendra Government has passed the Anti Littering and Anti Spitting Bill, 2017 which imposes a hefty fine of Rs 5,000 or a jail term of 6 months on people those who are found to be involved in spitting or littering at office premises or other public places.

Open Defecation Free State

People in our country are badly habituated towards defecating in the open environment. This has not only degraded the environment but it has also created unclean and unhygienic environment for people to live in. With the aim of eliminating this, the government strived hard to make the state an open defecation free state. With the onset of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014, around 5,84,000 individual toilets have been built across 13 districts and 7,500 villages and due to this effort of the government, in July 2017, Uttarakhand was declared an Open Defecation Free State.

Conclusion

Uttarakhand is one of the cleanest state in India and this has been possible only because of the policies implemented by the state government of Uttarakhand. Some of the policies implemented by the state government has been discussed in detail. These policies have been implemented strictly and therefore Uttarakhand was declared the first Swachh State of India in 2016 and in 2017, it was declared Open Defecation Free State. Keeping in view the progress made by Uttarakhand, other states must take in consideration the implementation made by the state and strive hard to maintain cleanliness in the environment.

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