“To Improve is to Change, to be perfect is to change often.” Winston Churchill’s quoted has been proven right by an IAS officer, Ritu Sain’s efforts in Chattisgarh’s Ambikapir city in Surgula district. It is Chattisgarh’s good fortune that they got the lady IAS officer Ritu Sain, who has transformed the stinking city into a clean city, where people would love to spend times.
There is no doubt Bureaucracy plays an important role to build the nation. If it decides to make a difference in the lives of people then there is hardly anything which can stop it. 2003-batch Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer Ritu Sain, has completely changed the look of Chattisgarh’s Ambikapur city. Ritu Sain does not want to leave any bad impression on the people while entering into the city, where she was appointed. She had decided to write the new fortune for the city. Ritu Sain took it upon herself to build the city an example for many, but all are not good enough to get an IAS officer like Ritu Sain, as their district office.
Ritu Sain recalls the condition of the town when she first visited the city. “There was a big signpost welcoming people to the municipal corporation of Ambikapur, and bang opposite that was a huge open dumping yard. The stink was unbearable. I thought to myself, what kind of impression the city would create if this was the first thing a person saw after entering,” Ritu Said quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.
Despite known the state of the city, Ritu Sain took charge of the city as a collector, she does not want to leave the city as it was she wanted to change it into one of the cleanest city of the country. After taking charge, she never looked back, she made it clear on the first day to work hard to make this city a clean city. She knew it was a tough challenge as the city has a population of 1,45,000 people and she had meager funds and resources to take up the cleaning task. Ritu Sain knew whatever she did would have to be participatory, viable and replicable.
Lady IAS officer Ritu Sain studied international relations from Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University. Thus after analyzing the magnitude of the problem, Sain set down with various stakeholders and laid a plan and it started with the solid and liquid resource management model was started on a pilot basis in one ward one resident commissioner in Delhi, Ritu Sain told Hindustan Times.
According to the report, several women Self Help Groups (SHG) were asked for help and a three-member team constituted comprising SHG workers formed and each team was given a 100 households from where they had to collect garbage from door to door.
When uses to segregate the collect garbage into 24 categories of organic and inorganic waster, in a garbage clinic which was opened in the ward. After the third and final round of microsegregation was done, after which the refined and cleaned waste was sold to scrap dealers.
Till 2016, all 48 wards of the city, which were covered and the municipality also fined a user charge for door-to-door collections. Currently, 447 women work from 7 am to 5 pm daily at 48 garbage segregation centers with required safety measures in place. They also undergo regular health checkups.
Ritu Sain’s this effort has converted 16-acre dumping yard into a sanitation awareness park and the 200 overflowing community dustbins have now been replaced with only five.
Ritu Sain said, “It’s a self-sustaining model. Each woman gets to earn Rs 5,000 per month from user fee and sale of recyclables. We have spent Rs 6 crore to put the entire infrastructure in place and have already earned Rs 2 crore. The money earned is being spent on the sanitation workers.”
Due to Ritu Sain’s efforts, Chattisgarh’s Ambikapur has been declared as the cleanest smallest city in 2018 cleanliness survey by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry. “It’s very fulfilling to see that something we started has come so far and is sustaining itself,” Sain added.
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