Mizoram: Biate named as ‘best city for innovations’ in Swachh survey
AIZAWL | June 25, 2018 (TNN): For the little over 2,200 population of Biate in Champhai district, one of the oldest human settlement in Mizoram, staying clean is a natural way of life and not enforced. Located about 165km east of Aizawl, the state's capital, Biate is synonymous with cleanliness and after strings of awards for the best kept town in the state in the past, it has won the best city for innovations among the northeastern states in the Swachh Suvekshan, 2018.
The Swachh Survekshan report states, "What makes Biate cleanliness drive remarkable is that there are no strictly enforced rules here. There are no legal penalties for smoking in public places, for urinating in the open and for littering – but people simply do not participate in these activities."
Deputy commissioner of Champhai district Vijay Kumar Bidhuri could not be contacted but his counterpart in neighbouring Serchhip district, Sangchhin Chinzah was in all praise for Biate.
"Most of places in Mizoram are beautiful, but Biate is a class apart..it's so clean. If you happen to be there and you throw a candy wrapper, you will find a young child appear from nowhere, pick up the wrapper and put it into the dustbin. No one will say anything to you. Cleanliness is a way of life for the people of Biate," the Serchhip DC said.
Biate's mission to stay clean started almost a decade before India's was prompted to a swachh Bharat by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. It all started way back in 1956 and children would clean the streets in their leisure time. The mission hit the roadblock when the state ws in the grip of insurgency until 2003 when the campaign got a new lead of life and this time the adults joined the children.
The biggest direct benefit from staying clean is that unlike many other places in the northeast, Biate residents have not reported a single case of malaria residents since 2012.
Biate became the first open defecation-free town in Mizoram in 2017. In the same year it awarded the cleanest town in Mizoram in a state-level competition conducted by the state urban development and poverty alleviation department.
The town's Facebook page speaks only about its cleanliness campaign not just for day but round at all times. A post in the page says that the people of the town had nothing to clean for the inspection for 2017 state level competition. While other towns sweated it out, Biate was busy in essay writing and drawing competitions for students.
The Swachh Survekshan report states, "The story behind Biate's transformation begins with the local leaders sensitizing the people to adopt a holistic approach for improvement in the field of hygiene, sanitation, protection of environment and overall development acceleration."
Garbage trucks have been deployed to reach every corner and every pocket in the town to maintain a high standard of cleanliness. Door-to-door campaigns, counseling and other such programs have been organized for young and old, convincing them that Biate could only be clean if every resident attained the same level of responsibility towards this cause.
Featured image: Smart city