Mysuru topped the Urban Development ministry's Swachh Survekshan competition, becoming the cleanest city in the country in a competition that had 73 participants, which included all capital cities and 53 others with a population of over 10 lakh.
This is the second time in a row that Mysuru has been declared the cleanest city. Chandigarh comes second, followed by Tiruchirapalli, New Delhi Municipal Council, Vishakhapatnam, Surat, Rajkot, Gangtok, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Greater Mumbai.
At the bottom of the list is Dhanbad, at rank 73. Prime minister Narendra Modi's constituency Varanasi, too, is way down at number 65.
Releasing the list, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the competition was part of the Swachh Bharat mission. He said competitions were a good way to compare cities and spur them forward in their objectives; in this case, towards cleanliness. Those cities that are lower in the ranking can take leads from the leaders to smarten up, he added.
Naidu said from next year, he would expect all the 500 cities to participate in the competition. Clean India is one of Modi's pet projects and Naidu said the aim was to declare India absolutely “swachh”.
He mentioned that 116 years ago, at the Benaras Hindu University, Mahatma Gandhi had said that sanitation was more important than freedom.
The “cleanliness” factor of the cities was rated on the basis of their solid waste management, service delivery, behavioural change mechanism and a host of other parameters. The immediate aim of the government is to ensure that by December 2016, all the 400 cities which have committed to being open defecation free will be so.