Lead Story

Getting His Hands Dirty

Over the course of the pandemic, the Indore Municipal Corporation has made a conscious effort to mechanise and organise sanitation, providing a protective environment for the city’s sanitation workers

Indore in MP, rec­e­ntly won the Central government’s maiden Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge award for making sewage management more mechanised and providing better equipment and technology to its sanitation workers. It also retained its tag of India’s cleanest city under the Centre’s annual Swachh Survekshan survey for the fifth time in a row.

There is a reason why Indore has won and keeps winning these sanitation laurels: its Municipal Corporation is proactive.

Forty-two-year-old Mangat Ram used to clean sewers almost every day in different parts of the city and working without any protective equipment wasn’t a big deal for him — until COVID-19 hit. Suddenly, like Ram, thousands of workers were exposed to the virus.

“The Indore Municipal Corporation took it very seriously and introduced several protective equipment along with a mechanised drain or sewer cleaning system for both industrial and residential areas,” says Ram. 

He adds that the local body’s efforts have improved the working conditions of over 11,000 sanitation workers.

But it’s the administrator of Indore Municipal Corporation, Pawan Kumar Sharma, who must get the biggest credit for the city’s clean avatar. Talking about the efforts, a proud Sha­rma says, “Now sanitary workers don’t need to go inside any sewage tank or manhole to clean it. We procured modern equipment for all this cleaning work — rob­otic arms were introduced to clean the drains with the help of a monitor kept outside.”

Apart from introducing mec­hanised ways of cleaning, the municipal corporation ensured that sanitation workers are alw­ays in their protective gear that included gloves, mask, high neck boots, and safety glasses.

The civic body also ensured safe and proper disposal of medical waste from homes – a critical aspect particularly in the pandemic times. Since the municipal corporation had already introduced six types of garbage segregator boxes for residential houses including one for sanitary pads, they were asked to use it for bio-medical waste.

More than 2,000 kg of medical waste generated from residential areas was disposed off.  

Sharma credits the public for Indore retaining its tag of the country’s cleanest city. “We owe it to our residents and sanitary workers,” he concludes.