Agra Municipal Corporation municipality cracks whip for cleanliness

Agra, Aug 16: The Agra Municipal Corporation has announced better sanitation management and tougher enforcement measures to ensure a cleaner Taj city. Property owners would be prosecuted if domestic waste or garbage is found accumulated outside their premises, Environment officer Rajeev Rathi said.

All sanitary inspectors and zonal officers have been instructed to immediately act against such offenders. Municipal corporation chief Indra Vikram Singh also ordered strict compliance of the order. The stricter norms follow the grim tragedy of a school boy being swept away in an open drain earlier this week.

His body was recovered after 18 hours. For more than 24 hours the city witnessed a virtual free-for-all in some parts, forcing shops and markets to close. The Jal Sansthan (Agra Water Works), which manages the city’s sewer system, has also ordered every house owner in the city to immediately apply for a sewer connection to avoid a penalty of Rs.1,000.

Agra Water Works General Manager Manju Rani Gupta has published advertisements in the local papers urging the people to get sewer connections. ”Even today half the city’s population does not have access to flush toilets and people can be seen defecating by the roadside morning and evening,” activist Anand Rai told IANS. But to ensure that the sewage system works efficiently, the choked pipeline network will need to be regularly cleaned and the water supply pressure maintained, said Sudershan Dua of the group India Rising, which has been organising cleanliness drives in the city for the past six months.

The long-term solution to the problem of civic garbage is segregation of waste at the source and a door-to-door collection network. ”This needs to be promoted in a big way and the number of sewage treatment plants increased according to population load,” activist Pramod Yadav told IANS.