New Delhi: On the first anniversary of 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan', Congress today claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency Varanasi ranked way down at 418 among 476 cities in terms of cleanliness in an "undeclared" list of the Urban Development Ministry.
"Assessment of cleanliness undertaken by UD Ministry ranks Holy Varanasi, Modiji's Constituency, at 418 on a list of 476 cities! Of 2,20,359 school toilets taken up, about 40,000 only being constructed. Survey report not released by Ministry!" party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a series of posts on Twitter.
The Urban Development (UD) Ministry sources, however, contended that the survey in which Varanasi ranked 418 was dated prior to the launch of the 'Swachh Bharat' campaign.
"This particular survey was done before the drive was launched and underscored the prevailing sanitation conditions. The first survey being carried out after the launch will be released later this year. That will reflect the change brought out by the project," they said.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched last year on the 145th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The campaign aims at making India a clean country by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Claiming that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was being used for publicity by the NDA dispensation, Surjewala said, "A vital issue like #SBA is becoming only Photo Op and Publicity under Modi Govt. Hope Gandhi Jayanti leads to introspection!"
Underlining that the pace of work under the PM's pet project was "very slow", he said, "Of 1 Lac Community & Public Toilets to be built by March 2016, only 18% built. At this pace, Year 2022 is completion!"
"Swachh Bharat promised construction of 12 Cr Rural Toilets on 2nd Oct, 2014. 50 Lac constructed in 1year. 2nd Oct 2038 will be completion day," he tweeted.
Congress senior spokesman Ajay Maken also took the opportunity to take potshots at the Modi government as well as the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation in Delhi, besides the BJP-controlled municipal corporations in the national capital.
"The year since Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched has been the worst year for sanitation workers in Delhi since independence," he said, claiming that they had not been given wages for months by the municipal bodies due to "non-receipt of funds from the Delhi government".
"Prime Minister had launched the drive here with much fanfare but it has remained a mere slogan," said Maken, who is also the Delhi PCC Chief.
He said the suicide by a sanitation worker early this week and agitations undertaken by such employees did not reflect the "success" of the Abhiyan as claimed by the NDA.