The State Capital figured in the top 25 list of 'Swachh Sarvekshan', the nationwide survey of Union Ministry of Urban Development, whose results were announced on Monday. Bhubaneswar ranked 24 among 73 cities which were shorlisted for the survey, a part of the ongoing Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).
Even as the State Capital improved its rank on the cleanliness front by 45 places as compared to 2014 rankings, non-existence of solid waste management unit has reflected on the numbers.
While Bhubaneswar ranked 24 after scoring 1279 out of total 2000 marks in 'Swachh Sarvekshan' (cleanliness survey) conducted under the aegis of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), the score plunged in 'Waste Management Processing and Disposal' category in which the City scored a meagre 25 out of 200.
This dismal performance can be attributed to the sluggish progress of the proposed Regional Solid Waste Management Treatment Plant (RSWTP) at Bhuasuni. While the MoU for RSWTP was inked between the State Government and Mumbai-based private firm around two years back, construction work of the project is yet to begin.
The reasons behind the inordinate delay are aplenty. Ten months into the pact, the concessionaire has decided to implement a new technology HITACHI instead of ROCHEM which was proposed initially. While the initial project estimate was Rs 58 crore, the upgraded technology, sources said, pushed the price by an additional Rs 200 crore.
Later, there were issues related to land acquisition. The private firm demanded additional land in place of a portion on the 62 acre patch over which high tension electricity lines are passing, thereby adding to the delay. If this was not enough, the authorities are now facing a tough time to obtain a no-objection certificate from Daruthenga Gram Panchayat (GP) for commencing construction work of the Bhuasuni project.
"We have held meetings with representatives of Daruthenga GP in presence of Khurda Collector and senior officials of the Revenue Department. The Sub-Collector has been appointed as nodal officer to expedite the NOC work," a senior official of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation said.
The cities, which have a systematic process for disposal and processing of solid waste scored cent per cent marks in the survey which supplemented their rank. "Had the RSWTP been operational by now, Bhubaneswar could have bettered its rank significantly and figured in the top 10 club of 'Swachh Sarvekshan'," the official added.