Book Review: Swachh Indore

The Book ‘Swachh Indore’ is written by IAS officer P. Narahari who ensured that Indore became the cleanest city of India

Indore is the largest city of Madhya Pradesh with a population of around 21L. As such, it is a real achievement not only to win the ‘cleanest city’ tag but also retain it for many years in a row.

The author explains the journey in the Book in a very simple and dry manner. But one can only marvel at the efforts gone behind this.

The journey started when PM Modi launched the ‘Swach Bharat’ campaign on Oct 02, 2014

The first goal of the team was to make rural Indore -Open Defecation Free (ODF). The author believes that its important to first change the people’s behavior to achieve the desired outcomes. I was astonished to know that the administration identified the areas on the outskirts of villages where villagers used to go to defecate. Then the officers used to land there at 4 am (!), catch them in the act and shame them !

They also built toilets etc so that the villagers have a viable alternative.One marvelous aspect of this was how different segments of society-media,kids, teachers etc were roped in to change the mindset of villagers

After achieving success in rural Indore, the focus shifted to urban Indore.One counter-intuitive step that the authorities took was get rid of public municipal bins. Instead, there was door-door collection of waste which Indoris classified into dry/wet waster.

Some of the additional steps that the authorities took was installing more toilets, more sewage collection vehicles,imposition of penalties etc

The authorities also use the waste to generate bio-CNG,compost manure etc which add to the coffers of the Municipal Corporation.

Another marvelous aspect of this drive was how the authorities changed the mindset of the people.They used mass media, hit songs, entertainment , religious authorities etc. The support of the public at large and politicians in particular is commendable.

Everyone who has visited Indore has visited the famous night food market of Sarafa Bazaar. Any Indian bazaar where thousands flock every night would be typically filthy. But not Indore’s Sarafa Bazaar. It’s strange how even non-Indoris respect the cleanliness and don’t litter.

I would recommend this Book only to those interested in policy

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