Terming lack of proper urban planning as a "major" failure for the country, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar today said the government will finalise comprehensive waste management rules next month to deal with the pressing problem.
Addressing a Global Partnership Summit on Smart Cities here, the Ministers rued that cities "have been converted into slums" in the last seven decades and said it is more challenging to transform them into smart cities then building new ones.
"Our single most failure after independence is in our urban and town and country planning. I wonder Nehruji bought great architects like Le Corbusier and built Chandigarh. But we never thought of waste management, sewage treatment and pollution," he said.
The minister said this planning failure has to be corrected if the goal of smart cities is to be acheived.
"In last 70 years, we have converted cities into slums.... We have to correct this planning failure. It is bigger challenge to convert the present city into a smart city," he said
Noting that more than 80 per cent of the sewage goes into rivers due to unoperational treatment plants, Javadekar said government will make sure that the contractor who builds the plant be given the responsibility to operate it.
"After 68 years of independence, 86 per cent of untreated sewage goes into water bodies, not only in Ganga but all the rivers.
"It is because the contractor only builds the sewage treatment plant and it is operated by somebody else who usually complains about its construction. Now we have taken a decision that the contractor who builds it, will operate it too," he said.
The waste management rules including plastic, hazardous, biomedical and e-waste management will be finalised next month, he said.
"We are generating 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day of which only 9,000 gets corrected and 6,000 remains and will remain for centuries unless we manage it properly.
"For the first time in India, we will come with separate rules for construction and demolition, hazardous, plastic and solid waste management rules," he said.
On the issue of pollution, Javadekar said government has taken the decision to leapfrog to Euro-VI standards of emissions, vehicles and fuel norms by 2020.
"The government is investing Rs 60,000 crore to improve quality of fuel and it will be ready with fuel of Euro VI norms by 2019. It is the real game changer as it is a permanent remedy to reduce vehicular pollution," he said.
At the same time, Javadekar said that all the departments
and ministries have been asked to prepare their climate action plans.
Elaborating on his Ministry's plans for taking forward the clean energy solutions, Javadekar said that while on one hand, skill set improvement courses will be framed, on the other hand, the subject of environment will also be brought up in school and college curriculum.
"Whatever work is done on environment, new technologies will be used and that will give rise to employment. We held a meeting with officials.
"Within one month, the new skill sets which is required in the field of environment, forest and climate will be developed," Javadekar said adding that the duration of these courses may be of one month, three months, six months and one year.
He said that challenges gives rise to opportunity and that opportunity will be employment.
"When the International Solar Alliance, launched under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, starts in various parts of the world, the technicians and youths of India equipped with new skill sets, will have tremendous employment opportunity and they will get jobs in the entire world," he said.