Images from Kolkata: Reality of Swachh Bharat


By Arnab Mitra

Mini Bus Stand, Howrah

A year back, on 2 October on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, Narendra Modi launched the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ in order to make India clean by 2019. The Prime Minister himself led the charge of the movement, coming to the streets with brooms along with his ministers and other government employees.

The campaign witnessed not only common people taking initiative to make India clean, but also big names like Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Ambani, Amitabh Bachhan and others.

But almost a year after the launch of the clean India Mission, the condition of the country is as grimy and unsanitary as before. The roads continue to function as garbage dumping grounds, people continue to spit gutkha casually in public places and in several villages people have no other option but to defecate in open.

NewsGram travelled all around the ‘City of Joy’ Kolkata to find out how successful the campaign has been in the past one year.

The first spot that the NewsGram team visited was Howrah, which houses the famous Howrah Bridge. However upon reaching the place, the deplorable condition of the city came out in full proportion.

Howrah Bus Terminus. Photo Courtesy: Madanmohan Samanta
Howrah Bus Terminus
Howrah Station Approach. Photo Courtesy: Madanmohan Samanta
Howrah Station Approach


One of the finest works of British architecture, Howrah Bridge is ‘decorated’ with red spots of gutkha at every nook and corner.

At the Howrah Station, people were seen relieving themselves in the open with foul smell of rotten food and urine all around.

The next stop was the anglo-hub of Kolkata’s Park Street, famous for the party goers was no better. There were wine bottles and waste food dumped on the roads, despite of a corporation dustbin on the street.

Amardeep Singh owner of the Mantra restaurant and bar at Park Street while talking to NewsGram, about the indifferent attitude of citizens towards sanitation said, “It’s temporary garbage, so we just dump it on the street. The corporation car comes and collects this garbage. We have been doing this since a long time.”

Jagannath Ghat Flower Market. Photo Courtesy: Madanmohan Samanta
Jagannath Ghat Flower Market

Maidan, the next place NewsGram visited, is a place of known for its greenery.  With Victoria Memorial at one side, and Eden Garden at the other side, it is a famous tourist spot of Kolkata.

N R S Medical College & Hospital, Kolkata Photo Courtesy: Madanmohan Samanta
N R S Medical College & Hospital, Kolkata

However upon reaching the place we found that the green pasture was littered with food packets, banana peels, cigarette buds.

This year on October 2, there will possibly be a huge celebration of one-year completion of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The government and the media outlets will probably make a month long propaganda of Government’s huge success in the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ project. But the sanitary condition of the country will continue to deteriorate, if the citizens do not participate seriously and actively to make India a clean nation.

Photo Courtesy: Madanmohan Samanta