CSE stands by its assessment of Swachh Survekshan 2019

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has issued a strong rebuttal to a press release sent out by the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA), in which the ministry has called CSE’s recent assessment of the Swachh Survekshan 2019 “factually incorrect” and “erroneous”. CSE had released its analysis of the Survekshan results earlier this month, and had found loopholes in the survey and its rankings

Said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE: “We stand by our assessment. We strongly believe that Swachh Survekshan is a great and laudable initiative. But poor implementation has marred it.”

According to the MoHUA: Online data collection from urban local bodies (ULBs) was done every month between September and December 2018. Only the ground-level assessment and citizen’s feedback were completed in 28 days. More than 3,000 assessors were involved in the survey, and each of the 4,237 ULBs was physically visited by the assessors; every visit was recorded through geo-tagging and time stamping of the assessors.

CSE’s response: This is exactly what CSE is saying in its assessment — 28 days are not enough for an extensive on-ground survey. Many surveyors never visited the cities or were not competent enough to assess them; it is not CSE which is saying so — municipal authorities of cities such as Panchgani, Vengurla and Muzaffarpur and the state urban department of Bihar have said this.

According to the MoHUA: CSE has said that cities that are doing good work on the ground were not awarded. The entire data of the first part (service-level progress) was based on information provided by cities themselves on the online MIS portal, and further validated and triangulated through direct observation and citizen’s feedback. The ministry has not received any complaint from any state or city regarding their ranks/awards.

CSE’s response: In its analysis, CSE has mentioned that many states — Kerala, Maharastra, Goa and Bihar among them — have acknowledged they are not happy with the results of the Survekshan in spite of working consistently to improve their solid waste management and sanitation. and Vijaywada have gone public with their dissatisfaction.

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