|An eatery on Ratu Road in Ranchi earns hygiene rap from acting chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty and his team who also took strong exception of overflowing drains (above) and spilling garbage vats on Wednesday morning. Pictures by Hardeep Singh
Sidho Kanho Park, 9.30am: construction materials and plastic waste from a nearby banquet hall found clogging a drain along the boundary wall of the park; the RMC was unaware
Kanke Road (near CM house), 10am: Rajdhani tent house was encroaching upon a portion of the artery with its stock, especially iron tables; neither the RMC nor anyone in the district administration ever bothered to take note
Ratu Chowk, 10.30: A small eatery caught dumping garbage on the road. Inside the shop, it was a feast for the flies; the RMC brass was mute on food safety
Choking drains and dirty roads aren’t uncommon in Ranchi, but it took the officiating chief secretary to point out the obvious to the capital’s civic guardian, the municipal corporation (RMC), and offer a little handbook on how to make a difference.
On Wednesday, Sajal Chakraborty launched “Operation Touch-Up” — a fast-track beautification drive following his two-hour surprise inspection of city streets from 9am. The RMC has been directed to place 100-odd dustbins, deploy flying squads to prevent littering and slap notices on eateries flouting cleanliness norms within 24 hours.
Around 7.30am, the RMC top brass was suddenly summoned to the state guesthouse to accompany the acting chief secretary on a city tour. They understandably looked lost. “Ab pata nahi sir kahan kahan jayenge (We have no clue which all places sir will visit),” chief executive officer Manoj Kumar had told The Telegraph.
Outside the guesthouse, another senior RMC official was overheard directing his men to be alert. “Sab apne apne ward mein lag jao, baad mein kisi ka nahi sunenge agar koi chuk hua toh. (Be in your respective wards and be alert. No excuses will be entertained if there are lapses),” he said over phone.
Speaking to The Telegraph later, Chakraborty explained the initiative.
“The objective of my surprise inspection was not to criticise or appreciate the RMC. I am sure officials are trying their best to fulfill their responsibilities. But, what is happening is that while chasing ambitious projects, which are long-term, simple things are being overlooked, turning the city into an eyesore.
“For instance, roadside eateries are dumping kitchen waste on the road. How hard is it to put a dustbin there? Drains at many places are clogged with building materials. Why not impose fines on defaulters then and there instead of waiting for orders?” the chief secretary said.
He maintained that roadside eateries should always be covered. “I recently visited Bihar, where I found even a village shop kept food in glass boxes or covered by net to prevent flies. Ideally, it’s the food inspector’s job under the RMC or civil surgeon to look into the matter,” he said, adding that Operation Touch-up was being launched to do “simple things on a regular basis” so that Ranchi looked inviting and not repulsive.
Kumar assured that the needful would be done. “Many dustbins, placed over a year ago, have been damaged. We have already begun procuring new ones. Also, procurement of special closed compactors is in the process for garbage disposal in every ward,” he said.
He added: “About six-seven flying squads with four-five people in each will be at work from Thursday whose job will be to visit various places round the clock and take corrective steps. They will be besides our regular city cleaners.”
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