The Vellore Municipal Corporation’s decentralised municipal solid waste management has received an honourable mention for the Best Municipality at the Janaagraha City Governance Awards on Tuesday.

The event is held in memory of V. Ramachandran, a former civil servant, who was known as the ‘Father of democratic decentralisation’. The awards were presented by Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri.

The segregation strategies deployed by the Vellore Municipal Corporation allowed for the monetisation of dry waste, the proceeds of which economically impacted sanitation workers, farmers and businesses.

“The Vellore Municipal Corporation is a bin-free city and we do not have a compost yard. The entire waste collected in the city is segregated and processed. We have achieved this by continuous IEC [Information, education and communication] activities like emphasising the message at religious places, markets etc., and addressing households,” said N. Sankaran, Commissioner, Vellore Municipal Corporation.

He said they first made the staff and sanitary workers understand the need for segregation and processing by introducing 51 decentralised micro-composting centres in Vellore, which could handle 165 cubic metres of waste.

“The biodegradable waste is processed without accumulation and dumping. Every day the waste generated is processed and disposed of. Once the necessity for segregation was felt and its benefits were realised, the entire process became easy. This helped us keep our city clean,” Mr. Sankaran added.

During the event, Mr. Puri said it was clear that only a partnership between the citizens, various municipalities, States and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs could deliver transformative urban change in the country. “We have seen such a partnership in action, at scale, across hundreds of cities, in schemes like the Swachh Bharat Mission. In the next phase of urban development, we need to invest in building the capacities of municipalities as institutions of local self-governments. As part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, there is sharp focus on shoring up the revenues of municipalities through property tax and user charge reforms,” he added.

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