Hockey World Cup: Odisha hygiene campaign in hot pursuit of slum-dwellers

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By Baijayanti Rout

Bhubaneswar, January 3: The Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) has created 17 enforcement squads as the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup approaches in order to step up eviction efforts and avoid roadside encroachments during the quadrennial tournament this month. According to BDA authorities, of the 17 squads announced, four would stay with their enforcement wings for the ongoing eviction operations, and four squads each will work for each of Bhubaneswar’s three zone deputy commissioners.

For enforcement operations on smart Janpath route, one enforcement team would also stay with Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL). The teams will patrol the city to rescue nomads and beggars off the roadways, make arrangements for their stay in rescue shelters, and remove make shift kiosks that have been unlawfully erected along the side of the road.

The state capital is busy with several preparations for the 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup. Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has called on representatives of Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) to step up and support the effort of the government by setting up a meeting. The goals for the city’s scape and sanitation were reviewed at this first phase meeting with RWAs, along with the various responsibilities played by resident communities.

A participatory method was used to debate what should be their level of collaboration and how the city should appear.  According to Commissioner Vijay Amruta Kulange, sanitation should be a top concern, thus all gated communities and RWAs should implement the waste management regulation of 2016 and create action plans in accordance with it.

The societies can support the campaign by marking their region and upholding a 5-meter cleanliness radius. They can also organise various events to encourage locals and people. A criteria of 13 points was presented to the participants after the commissioner announced that the RWAs would be ranked based on their activity.

No open garbage point in or around the society, home composting, community composting, citizen engagement, cleaning of the five metre radius, no burning of waste, cleanliness of common area, awareness building, participation of RWAs in BMC’s awareness initiatives, encouragement of local sanitation staff by appreciating, recognising, and motivating them, segregation of waste, regular delivery of segregated waste to BC vehicle and decoration of the premises with A Zonal team will visit the RWAs to look at the preparations being made.

The Jagannath slum in the city’s Jaydev Vihar neighbourhood was the target of an eviction effort by enforcement agents from BMC and BDA. According to sources, the anti-encroachment effort required blocking the route that leads from Jaydev Vihar to Kalinga Stadium.

The BMC and BDA Enforcement staff conducted an eviction drive today in the Jagannath slum in the city’s Jaydev Vihar neighbourhood. Ten police platoons were stationed there to prevent any unwanted events.

It is commendable that the government places a high priority on the hygiene and sanitation of the smart city Bhubaneswar. Even after the hockey world cup, this action should continue. If the government is displacing low-income households (slum dwellers) and street sellers close to the Kalinga Stadium, then fair compensation should be given to provide a comfortable lifestyle. Additionally, to protect their source of income, vendors should be properly replaced if street vendor businesses are destroyed. The evicted family ought to get financial aid. The State government should also promise to give them a place to live.

(Author is a PhD scholar, Centre for studies in economics and planning, School of Social Sciences, Central University of Gujarat)

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