The occasion was World Environment Day, and though India is the host country this year, and the theme for 2018 is â€œBeat Plastic Pollutionâ€, the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh (MCC) in conjunction with the Union Territory Administration has on this day embarked on a much delayed project to clean up the three natural water channels (‘choes’) which meander right across the city from North to South before entering and raising a big stink in adjoining Mohali. Considering the limited resources with the MCC, it will clean up the N-choe, which flows through the heart of the city, in a weeklong campaign, leaving the Patiala Ki Rao and the Sukhna Choe to the Administration.rn
The regular early morning walkers, joggers and yoga enthusiasts at the Shanti Kunj in Sector 16 were in for a surprise on Tuesday with scores of MC workers, supervisors and officers gathered with a host of digging and cutting implements and machines and garbage disposal vehicles. The work started in right earnest around 6:30 a.m. after Mayor Davesh Moudgil administered a cleanliness oath to the workers, many of them wearing rubber gloves and face masks.
Whirring sound of shrub cutting machines and chain saws and clinking sound of spades hitting stone walls filled the air as the workforce lead by the Mayor himself, Deputy Mayor Vinod Aggarwal, a few other councillors, Commissioner K.K.Yadav and senior officers descended into the N-choe and got down to business, removing the heavy overgrowth of grass and shrubs and accumulated rubble and cleaning up the surroundings. The entire work of cleansing the 14 km stretch of the choe from Bougainvillea Garden in Sector 3 to UT boundary in Sector 53 has been divided into seven sections, each headed by a senior official of the engineering department of the MCC as nodal officer.
Municipal Commissioner K.K. Yadav, who recently joined the MC on deputation from Punjab, told Lifeinchandigarh.com at the venue that the work of each section, on its completion by June 11, will be assessed by an independent agency and the best performing sections will be suitably rewarded to encourage healthy competition.
Quoting a survey conducted by the MCC he said it had been observed that while most of the water being drained into the N-choe was from public storm water drains, some sanitary waste water, especially from Sector 17 was also finding its way into the choe. Violators were in the process of being identified and a proposal will be moved in the House to slap heavy penalties on offenders, he informed.
Yadav reiterated the MCC’s commitment to ensure that only clean water flowed in the choe and it did not raise a stink in the green belts through which it flowed in the city like Leisure Valley, Rose Garden, Shanti Kunj, Bamboo Valley, Fragrance Garden, Palm Garden and Spring Garden.
In an apparent photo op, only a handful of workers wearing fluorescent jackets were provided face masks and rubber gloves. Others were presumed to be dustproof.
Before entering the N-choe many workers were heard warning their colleagues against the danger of snakes in the heavy overgrowth, bringing into sharp focus the non-availability of gumboots and other protective gear for them.