Basix Municipal Waste is for-Profit Company stated in March 2012 after culmination of work done by Indian Grameen Services (IGS) since 2008 in Jhabua, MP and other states. It was much before Cleanliness movement started in India generally and Indore specifically, BMW has been working on ground for sanitation workers and integrated waste management. During their initial years with IGS, BMW identified that there is gap between Municipal Corporation and public. Indore’s citizen lacked civic sense and littering was common at every nook and corner. Public used to throw waste anywhere and common perception was that responsibility of cleaning is upon IMC. Likewise, work of IMC was not better than any other major MC like Lucknow or Allahabad.

Then, Indore’s cleanliness changed for better when Manish Singh 2009 IAS batch, MP Cadre was appointed as Municipal Commissioner in 2015, who recognised work done by BMW in smaller Nagar Parishad in Maheshwar, Jhabua and asked them to to demonstrate their work in three township of Indore. After successful implementation of BMW’s model, IMC implemented it in 74 wards in Indore. Backed by committed mayor Malini singh Gaur, MC Manish Singh employed every possible tactic available to get job done.

Rag pickers livelihood model and its contribution in cleanliness

Traditionally, Rag pickers sustain themselves by collecting, sorting, and segregating waste and trading it with Kabadiwala. Rag pickers works in totally informal sector thus work without any job security, salary and dignity. Not just that, they are regularly exposed to cuts, infections, respiratory diseases apart from poverty, humiliation, harassment, and sexual abuse on the streets.

 BMW identified problems associated with most vulnerable section of society. Instead of distributing money as charity, they decided to increase their livelihood so that they become self dependent and contribute effectively in process of nation building. First, BMW approached rag pickers with their model but could not get satisfactory response. There was initial reluctance from Rag-pickers as they were part of century old system of “Kabadiwala” but soon joined BMW after seeing its result.

As per George V Mathew, Senior Vice President ‘Traditionally, Rag pickers roam around in cities and collect dry waste from large dustbins fitted in front of house or collect it from dump yards and then sell it to Kabadiwala at 2 rs/kg thus earning around 200 to 250 rs/day. After BMW’s intervention, Rag pickers come to designated place “transfer station” and segregate dry waste from it. They get paid according to amount of work done by them. Now, they are getting from 500 to 600 rs/day. BMW worked not only in increasing their livelihood but other aspect of their life. Rag-pickers were given trainings on financial discipline, their bank accounts have been opened and money is transferred in their account. BMW issued ID cards and dress to recognise them as formal workers and also provided protective equipments like hand gloves”.

In Door to door collection methods, dry waste reaches to transfer station and segregated (sorting into different grade) and make ‘Gutta unit’ which later BMW sell in higher value chain. BMW get paid for according to volume and quality of dry waste. These plastic units can be utilised to make agriculture pipes and plastic chairs.

BMW model has worked every stakeholder; i) Rag pickers can earn money (double) with dignity and less hardship. They also get additional benefit like financial literacy, protective equipment. ii) BMW is able to run a for-profit company while working for most vulnerable section of society, iii) IMC does not need to employ more people for segregation thus reducing its financial burden, iv) Indore and its citizen can live in clean city.

Building an ecosystem for cleanliness

From being placed 149th in a cleanliness ranking of India’s cities in 2014, Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) climbed to 25th position in 2016, and to the top of the heap in 2017, a position it has maintained for over a year. This feat has not achieved in fortnight but continuous efforts by every stakeholder and gradually building an ecosystem for cleanliness. To understand success of Indore’s cleanliness feat we need to look into every aspect of cleanliness. With following point, I am trying to explain how an ecosystem has built which lead to securing first ranking in “Swachhta Survekshan”

  • Infrastructure

Indore’s municipal corporation (IMC) has eliminated garbage dumps, ensured 100% household-waste segregation and converted waste to usable products, such as compost and fuel. It partnered with non-governmental organizations for an awareness campaign to change the behavior of its citizens, contracted private companies to run some waste management operations, used technology, and improved municipal capacity to ensure the implementation of its waste management plan.

  • Achieving 100 % Source segregationBefore cleanliness drive, households would dump trash in and around big garbage cans at street corners. A privately contracted company would collect the garbage from these points, erratically. Cattle, stray dogs and flies manifested around these dump sites. In 2016, the IMC started by collecting waste every day from households, and started slowly asking residents to give segregated waste. When the waste segregation began, most of the people would not segregate waste. They make excuses   and refused to cooperate with IMC workers. To resolve this issue, IMC pleaded them to segregate waste also fined them for not complying to rules. Later, trust developed between the IMC and residents which led to achieving segregation.
    • Door to Door collection- Door to door collection of waste is being done in all 85 wards of city. 400 small tippers have been used for door to door collection. 400 cycle rickshaw and 350 wheel Barrows are also used for narrow lanes.  Biometric Attendance & GPS monitoring of vehicle is deployed for effective monitoring of collection of waste.
    • Road Sweeping- Road Sweeping of 300 km per day is done by ultra modern Road sweeping machines during night between 10 pm and 6.00 am. Litter picking is done on both sides of the road upto 10 meter. And also road sweeping is done manually by sanitation workers of IMC.
    • Spot fines and user charges- After building all round facility for sanitation, there all issues with related to public’s attitude toward trash. Borrowing from classic “carrot and stick” method, a spot fine was introduced for offender. Other than fines, user charges have been levied for all occasions. Even a political rally has to pay a per head charge to the authorities. Even senior politicians are paying these for their events.
  • Political will and administrative efficiency

Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) has achieved feat of number one among all Municipal bodies for last three years because it was led by dynamic MC Manish Singh. He is the one identified BMW asked them to work in wards. He is responsible for administrative overhaul. He issued heavy fines on restaurant, marriage garden which were violating norms (up to one lakh rupees). It is only possible with strong political will and non interference with government functionaries. Besides, the support of mayor, a lot has been possible with the tacit support of local politician across all party.

  • Ground work by BMW and other NGO

BMW has been working in Indore much before cleanliness has become public movement. It has been working with Rag pickers which contributed increasing life standard of Rag pickers and at same time cleaning dry waste from city’s dumping yard thus reducing the burden on IMC. In 2015, after formal involvement with IMC, BMW worked in creating public movement for cleanliness. BMW organised school rallies for creating awareness among children, went to every household to teach about importance of source segregation. Currently BMW is working in 50 wards of Indore (70 percent of total) as per Gopal Jagtap.

BMW has been working in tandem with other four NGO’s and IMC as it is oldest and most experience player in this field. BMW never take credit in public but allow IMC and politician to boast about their achievement. This strategy has contributing in building a cordial relationship with IMC and local politicians.

  • IEC activities

Public movement was built to make Indore clean for which lot of campaign was started through Print and electronic media, Radio Channel, street play, rallies, and camp has organised in Schools and college to change behaviour of children. Message has been displayed on hoarding. IMC contracted with BMW and other four NGO’s for creating awareness and training in all 85 wards. Facebook, Youtube and Twitter used for information, publicity and awareness. Brand Ambassador was anointed for spreading message and creating a role model like playback singer Palak Muchhal. Every public function is used for creating awareness from political rallies to marriage function on a war footing.

  • Public movement

Cleanliness drive achieved its success when public took the ownership of city and realised its responsibility for city. Earlier there was deficit in trust between public and IMC which built atmosphere of tension between resident and IMC workers. But, after continuous efforts from BMW, Media campaign, school rallies and involvement of elite class of Indore, people realised that cleanliness is not just responsibility of IMC or rag pickers but they also need to take active part in cleaning activity. It is intriguing to study how a city has realised its responsibility in four or five years whereas other major cities still struggling in creating same public movement. One possible reason is that, Indore always has collective conscious which built over last 300 years since reign of Ahilyabai (which I explained in earlier section). Example of which we have seen during water crisis during 60’s and 70’s and movement by Abhyas Mandal to bring Narmada water in Indore. Similarly, during cleanliness drive, fire was ignited by then, MC Manish Singh and Mayor Malini Singh and later picked up by public itself (obviously IEC campaign by BMW helped them to realise their responsibility). Now, public participate actively in cleaning their streets and take pride in Indore as a cleanest city in Indore.

Sidarth Barpanda

Sidarth is a part of the Government advisory team at Deloitte India. Master of Public Policy graudate having prior experience working in a Legislator's office and multiple think-tanks.

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