MCD Polls: Environmental Issues Top Swaraj India’s Manifesto

The party, floated by Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan among others, has also accused the BJP of “filth and corruption” and the Aam Aadmi party of “betraying the people”.

Swaraj India national party president Yogendra Yadav. Credit: PTI

Swaraj India national party president Yogendra Yadav. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Making its maiden foray into electoral politics with the municipal corporation elections in Delhi, Swaraj India, the party floated by Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan among others upon their leaving Aam Aadmi Party, on Friday released its manifesto for the upcoming polls.

Apart from providing concrete plans for making Delhi “epidemic-free, garbage-free and pollution free”, the party claimed it is also the first in the country to have environmental issues at the top of its political agenda.

Releasing the election manifesto, the party’s national president, Yogendra Yadav, said: “At a time when the political parties responsible for the present deplorable state of MCD are again making appeals for votes, Swaraj India has emerged as a true alternative.”

He attacked all the three major players in the polls – BJP, AAP and Congress – for different reasons. Yadav charged that BJP, which has ruled MCD for the last ten years, was directly responsible for the filth and corruption the civic body (which was trifurcated in 2012) has been witnessing.

The Aam Aadmi Party, he said, had emerged as a source of hope for Delhi’s residents but “betrayed the public in the last two years”. Incidentally, Yadav and Bhushan had co-founded and nurtured AAP before they were unceremoniously ousted by Arvind Kejriwal and his followers soon after the party won a thumping majority in the 2015 Delhi assembly elections.

Yadav also termed the Congress as “the party that is at the root of every problem and scam of Delhi.” He said none of the three parties had any concrete results to show nor do they have a progressive vision to govern MCD in the coming years. “This is the reason the BJP, AAP and Congress are only indulging in accusing each other and are only focused on freeing Delhi of each other,” he said.

Swaraj India, Yadav said, has come with solutions for making Delhi free from dirt and filth and would also implement the real ‘Swaraj’ model in the city. He said in keeping with its vision document titled, “Saaf Dil Saaf Dilli”, he said the party has a concrete plan for this.

Segregation of garbage

Enumerating the steps it proposes to take, Yadav said Swaraj India wants MCD to run a “Two Bin, One Bag Scheme” so that recyclable waste is segregated from wet garbage like kitchen waste, fruits, vegetables and leaves. Once done, it could then be converted into compost. Similarly, he said dirt, soil and medical waste which have to be disposed should be kept and handled in red bins.

Yadav said the plan envisages garbage vans making daily trips to every “basti” (settlement) and colony so that garbage can be collected and taken in separate bins. Also, he said the dhalaos (garbage collection points) should also have segregated zones for dry garbage, wet garbage and construction debris.

This way, most of the garbage will not have to be dumped at the landfill sites as it would be converted into compost and used in parks. “With the help of rag pickers and waste collectors, the dry garbage will be separated and recyclable material will be reused by industries. Other dry garbage and construction debris will be used for road construction,” Swaraj India has stated.

Dirt free Delhi

To make Delhi, pollution free, the party has suggested sweeping and washing of main streets and lanes at night, imposition of restrictions on builders to ensure dust pollution is curbed, restrictions on burning plastic and leaves and supporting residents welfare associations and “basti sabhas” to plant more trees and grass in their localities.

Swaraj India also spelled out its views on curbing vector-borne diseases. It also noted that regular licences would be issued to pushcart vendors and they will be provided fixed place of operation so that they don’t have to bribe inspectors and police and at the same time the streets do not get clogged.

For addressing the parking woes of the citizens, it said MCD will construct new multi-storied parking lots. Similarly, it promised ridding the city of stray animals through their proper rehabilitation.

Swaraj or self rule 

Noting that the party was low on financial and human resources but was still contesting nearly 225 seats, Yadav said it wants to establish true “swaraj” or “self governance’ in Delhi by engaging RWAs and basti sabhas in the decision making processes related to roads, parks, electrical works, establishment or closure of liquor shops, and even in how MCD schools should be run.

Further he said, the conditions of small MCD dispensaries would be improved and the larger hospitals could be handed over to Delhi government.

Yadav summed up his party’s campaign saying: “We do not have a government, the money for huge hoardings & billboards or money for TV ads. But the truth is that we have a clean heart and the will to make Delhi a clean city.”