Kakching bags cleanest city in the North-East Zone award
- at Swachh Survekshan, 2018 results -

Waribam Urmila *

 Kakching lamkhai  as seen on October 2 2016
Kakching lamkhai as seen on October 2 2016 :: Pix - Armando Bond

Kakching bagged the award for "Cleanest City in North East Zone" in the recently announced Swachh Survekshan, 2018 results. Kakching is a town about 44 kms away from Imphal, Manipur and has a population of about 32, 138 (as per 2011 census). Kakching has the literacy rate of 83.08% which is higher than the state average of 76.94%.

The Swachh Survekshan, 2018 assessed 4041 cities across India and was organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), under the aegis of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).

Swachh Bharat Mission is a campaign that was officially launched by the Government of India on 2nd October 2014 with the aim to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India's cities, smaller towns, and rural areas. Its main objective is to make India open defecation free by 2nd October 2019 i.e, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Swachh Survekshan is an all India cleanliness competition organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to improve urban sanitation. A total of 4041 urban local bodies across India participated in Swachh Survekshan, 2018. Cities having population of one lakh and more and capital cities were ranked at National Level and cities with population of less than one lakh were ranked at Zonal Level North, South, East, West and North East.

Kakching Municipal Council (KMC) participated in the Swachh Survekshan for the first time this year and bagged the award for "Cleanest City in the North-East Zone" (less than 1 lakh). Even though Kakching entered the Swachh Survekshan for the first time in 2018, it had already achieved Open Defecation Free status on 16th September, 2016 and has maintained this status till date.

Suranjoy Singh Laishram, the Executive Officer of Kakching Municipal Council was overwhelmed with joy the day the results were announced.

He said, "Today, I am happier than the day I got my first job. This was possible because of the co-operation of the citizens of Kakching, my beloved staff, sanitary workers, staffs of Ward Development Committees (WDC), NGO's in Kakching, students union especially All Kakching Students Union (AKSU), Hon'ble Chairperson and Vice Chairperson who is ever ready to take up new ideas and projects and the support of the councillors. It was a team effort. And finally I thank my boss, Director of MAHUD, Gitkumar Nepram for such invaluable support and assistance."

Here are some activities practiced/carried out by the Kakching Municipal Council to promote sanitation and cleanliness:-

o Door to door solid waste collection:- The door to door solid waste collection within the jurisdiction of KMC began since October 2012 and today they have achieved more than 90% coverage of all the 12 wards.

o Mandatory Night-time sweeping:- Mandatory night-time sweeping along with day time sweeping was introduced since 16th October, 2017.

o Clean Kakching Campaign :- A 7 day cleanliness campaign by the All Kakching Students' Union (AKSU) was organized with the support of various NGOs and local organization from 17th December 2017 to 24th December 2017.

o Swachhta Pakhwada :- A fifteen days mass awareness cum cleanliness campaign in all the 12 wards of KMC was organized with huge public participation, especially women and students. Self Help Groups (SHGs) formed under DAY-NULM took the lead role in mobilizing the general public and spreading the message of a cleaner and better Kakching.

o Swachhta App campaign :- Ward Development Committees of all the 12 wards took active role in educating the people on the usefulness of the Swachhta App and their opportunity to give their feedback on jobs done by the Municipality. This campaign helped in bridging the gap between the public and the Municipality.

o Poster campaign under IEC :- Poster campaigns are also organized under information, education and communication strategies.

A feature that is unique to Kakching is the segregation of household waste that has been practiced traditionally. More than 90% of the residents of Kakching are Schedule Caste and their main occupation is agriculture and piggery farming. As most of them practice pig farming, the organic kitchen wastes are segregated for the pig farmers, who collect them every day. The dry/inorganic wastes are collected by the Municipality on weekly basis from households and twice daily from commercial areas.

It can be said that the biggest reason why Kakching got the award is because of active participation by the public. The people work hand-in-hand with the Kakching Municipal Council in an endeavor for a cleaner and better Kakching. Mayanglambam Himat Singh, a resident of Kakching Khunyai Leikai said, "I can't express how happy I was when our tiny town was announced as the cleanest city in the North-East. I would like to praise the Government for coming up with Swachh Survekshan to improve sanitation."

He added, "The Kakching Municipal Council has worked very hard to keep the place clean and awareness among the people has also increased. Today, if someone throws something from a moving vehicle in the market area, we stop the vehicle and ask them to help keep the place clean. I would like to send out this message to all that we can attain a clean and healthy environment only when each and every individual work towards it."

It is not a mean feat that of the four categories of awards for North East zone, two were bagged by Manipur. The second award went to Mayang Imphal for "Best City in Citizens Feedback for North East Zone". It is quite an achievement for Manipur and these two towns have made us proud. The biggest credit for these two towns for winning the awards goes to their citizens. It is their actions that have made the difference. Let them serve as role models for the rest of Manipur.

The Chief Minister of Manipur, Shri N. Biren Singh on World Environment Day said that the State Government is planning to impose ban on use of plastics in the State soon. This is indeed a good step in the direction of a cleaner Manipur. But public participation and behavioral change is the need of the hour. No matter how many policies the Government puts in place, it will not be a success without co-operation from the citizens.

Change should be brought by us, the citizens. Only when each and every one of us inculcate and practice cleanliness will our home and environment become clean. So, let us join hands and strive towards a cleaner Manipur, a cleaner India and a cleaner world.

The details of activities carried out by Kakching Municipal Council was provided by Shri Suranjoy Singh Laishram, Executive Officer, Kakching Municipal Council.

* Waribam Urmila wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer belongs to Indian Information Service (IIS) and is currently posted at Press Information Bureau, Imphal. She can be reached at pib_imphal(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This Press Release was posted on June 20 2018

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