Ambikapur city, the capital of the erstwhile princely state of Surguja in Chhattisgarh, has found place among the six cities across the country ranked 5-star for having become garbage-free.
The city still has a big influence of erstwhile Surguja state, which was one of the prominent princely states in central India during the British Raj. The titular Maharaja of Surguja, T S Singh Deo, has been representing the Ambikapur constituency in the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly since it was declared unreserved in 2008.
Interestingly, most of the cities ranked 5-star for being garbage-free have been capitals of princely states. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs had announced today that for assessment year 2019-2020, a total of six cities have been certified 5-Star. These include Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysuru, Indore and Navi Mumbai.
Of the lot, Ambikapur, Rajkot, Mysuru and Indore had been part of erstwhile princely states. The Star Rating Protocol was launched by the ministry in January 2018 to institutionalise a mechanism for cities to achieve garbage-free status and to motivate cities to achieve higher degrees of cleanliness.
The “women warriors” of the sleepy town of Ambikapur have made all the difference. Trudging the streets with their rickshaws, the women are not only making money out of garbage but have set a precedent in the Swachh Bharat campaign by making the town, housing a population of over 1,25,000, waste free.
Ambikapur is the first town in the state to adopt Solid Liquid Resource Management (SLRM) method to solve the problem of urban waste.
More than 400 women are working in the 48 wards, collecting source-segregated waste every day and depositing them at the SLRM centre in each ward. The organic waste is used to make a compost, while the inorganic waste is segregated into 158 categories after cleaning it further.