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The “mountains of garbage” in Indian cities will be wiped out, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised Friday as he launched the second phases of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.

The Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 intends to make India’s cities garbage-free. AMRUT 2.0 aims at ramping up sewage treatment as well as providing 100 per cent water supply coverage to all households.

Speaking on urban water security, Prime Minister Modi said the target is to expand sewage and septic management, and ensure that no untreated sewage is released into the rivers. “When sewage water treatment increases, urban water bodies will get clean and then our rivers will also be clean,” he said.

Referring to the Ghazipur landfill in Delhi, Prime Minister Modi said: “There is one such mountain of garbage in Delhi which has been sitting here for years and waiting to be removed,” Modi told Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who nodded in agreement. “This movement in India will create numerous ‘green jobs’ as well,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi said around 1 lakh tonnes of urban waste is processed every day in India. “In 2014 less than 20 per cent waste in India was processed. Now, India processes almost 70 per cent of its waste every day. We have to take it to 100 per cent,” he said. The Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0 has an outlay of Rs 1.41 lakh crore

Invoking BR Ambedkar, Modi said “Babasaheb” considered urban development a major medium to eradicate inequality.

“Those who migrate to cities from villages in search of a better life may get jobs in the cities but their standard of living is worse than what it was in the villages. It’s a two-fold blow on them to be away from their villages and not getting a good life in cities,” he said.

The two missions will improve the life of migrants in cities, the urban poor and the middle class, he said.

Identifying street vendors as a important stakeholders in urban development, Modi said they have received loans worth Rs 2,500 crore by banks so far under the government’s PM-Street Vendors Atmanirbhar NIDHI scheme and through over 7 crore digital transactions, street vendors are building their credit history with banks, something that was not done before.

The Prime Minister also termed cleanliness workers and garbage collectors “superheroes”.

He said in the seven years preceding 2014, the government had spent around Rs 1.25 lakh crore on urban development. The NDA government in the seven years since has budgeted around Rs 4 lakh crore for it, he said. “New metro routes, housing for the urban poor are all being made from this.”

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