"The cleanliness is a realization of being aware about making sincere efforts in promoting the cause of hygienic environment so as to leave a clean and green legacy for our coming generations. Where there is cleanliness, there is health." These views were expressed by the Local Government Minister, Punjab, Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu here today at Punjab Municipal Bhawan on the occasion of a regional workshop on 'Star Rating of Garbage Free Cities' in which the Municipal Commissioners, E.O.s connected with Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh participated.Divulging more, Mr. Sidhu said that the Punjab Government under the visionary guidance of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is whole heartedly devoted to the task of generating awareness with regard to the environmental as well as hygiene issues besides taking ample measures to make sure that the vision materializes into reality. Proving a point, he elaborated that during the Swachh Sarvekshan in 2017 a total of 438 cities were examined on various parameters pertaining to cleanliness and Punjab was among the most lowly ranked i.e. no city of the state was within first 100 cities ..many of its cities received ranking between 400-438 but after the present Government took over the reins of the state and undertook with missionary zeal the task of making the state count on various cleanliness standards, the ranking of Punjab is expected to see a drastic improvement in Swachh Sarvekshan-2018. As of now more than 30 of its ULBs are in top-100 amongst 4041 ulbs across the country in dynamic rankings of cities based on swachhtaapp.The minister further added that the concept of Garbage Free Cities is very closely linked with the Swachh Bharat Mission and exhorted all to devote themselves wholeheartedly to ensure that Punjab emerges at the top on the criteria of cleanliness and healthy environment.
The minister also said that Punjab has made great strides in eradicating the menace of Open Defecation from the state and assured that by July, 2018 the state would be completely Open Defecation Free (ODF). The minister also disclosed that solid waste management is an important tool in making the cities garbage free and the Local Government Department has taken a path breaking initiative of de-centralising the solid waste management systems in the state as per which the separate specialists have been working in their respective domains related to the solid waste management systems.On the occasion, the CEO of Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company Mr. Ajoy Sharma threw light on the steps being initiated by the department in making Punjab free from open defecation as well as providing individual toilets in the households to save environment from getting polluted. He also divulged that 120 cities have declared themselves ODF and 32 cities of Punjab have received certification from the Quality Council of India (QCI) for coming out with flying colours on various criterion pertaining to making environment open defecation free and according tidy and beautified look.The Additional Mission Director, Swachh Bharat Mission, Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs Mr. Naveen Aggarwal in his address lauded the efforts being made by the Punjab Government in championing the cause of cleanliness and making the state completely Open Defecation Free.Mr. Sidhu on the occasion also honoured various NGOs and 3 Deputy Directors (Local Government Department) from Bathinda, Patiala and Jalandhar for making herculean efforts in making the cities garbage free apart from generating awareness about clean and green environment.Among others present on the occasion included Principal Secretary Local Government Department Mr. A. Venu Prasad, and Director, Local Government Department, Mr. Karnesh Sharma.