This town is indeed the ‘Sultan’ in cleanliness. You will not find even a single pile of garbage on any street in Sultan Bathery. Here, there is no need to turn your face away from disgusting sights like waste dumped on the roadside or try to evade the nauseating stench.
The spick and span town, where roads are flanked by potted flowering plants, even draws admiration from overseas visitors. “It is a pleasant surprise to find such a clean town in Wayanad, considered a backward district,” commented a traveller from Qatar.
How the feat was achieved
The tag of cleanest town in Kerala was accorded to Sultan Bathery municipality barely a couple of years ago. When the then municipal council headed by C K Sahadevan took over the reins of the civic body, the first programme it launched was a cleaning drive to rid the town of garbage.
Among the initial works was the clearing of all the 13 drains in the town. Even waste that had been remaining at the same spot for 30 years was removed in that drive. The next measure was the ban imposed on plastic. Subsequently, all the wild growth of plants on the sides of the roads was cleared.
This was followed by the round-the-clock watch maintained by the municipal chairperson, councillors and civic employees to nab miscreants dumping garbage in public places under the cover of darkness. Local people, traders and auto-taxi drivers also joined the initiative. The joint initiative produced results soon; the menace of waste dumping came to a halt.
Revenue from garbage
The administratorsare now paying money to the local people to ‘buy’ garbage from houses and shops. This is to convert it into fertilizer and electricity. A waste management plant is now being set up for the purpose. German technology is used in the plant, which will be operational in three months, said municipal chairperson T L Sabu.
Another remarkable decision of the local body is to remove all banners, flags and other display items set up in connection with political meetings within 24 hours after the function ends.
Every day at 4 am, the nine cleaning workers of the civic body set out with their cart to clear the town of garbage. Within three hours, their work would be over. But they go around the town again in the afternoon, to pick up some minute items like sweet wrappers or a leaf seen on the road. Finally, the road would be as clean as your own house and premises.
Potted flowering plants have been placed at several parts of the town. But the beautification does not end there. Sultan Bathery, in fact, has already sown the seeds to become Kerala’s ‘garden city.’ Flowering trees planted several years ago will soon bloom, turning the entire town into a garden.
Sultan Bathery may be the only place in Kerala where a visitors book is kept at the public washroom. The authorities here know very well that those using the washroom would have nothing against it. The book is full of comments in praise of Kerala’s cleanest place.