Excerpt: Call it the PM effect. A police station in the heart of the capital was meticulously cleaned by a team from Sulabh International after a surprise inspection by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Oct 2. PM Modi was on his way to the Valmiki Basti, a colony that houses sanitation workers, nearby when he suddenly stopped his car and walked into the Mandir Marg police station in central Delhi. The parking lot was littered with garbage. The PM picked up a broom and tackled it for nearly 10 minutes, leaving the police officers who work at the station deeply embarrassed. The PM told them cleanliness is important. Then he left for a busy morning, crammed with events linked to the launch of the massive five-year Clean India campaign
NEW DELHI (TIP): Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his nationwide cleanliness campaign, the
‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ or ‘Clean India Campaign’ from the Valmiki Basti in New Delhi on October 2. Addressing the nation at the launch, Modi asked India’s 1.25 billion people to join the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and promote it to everyone.
After paying tribute at the memorials of Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on their birth anniversaries, Modi himself swept a pavement at Valmiki Basti, a colony of sanitation workers before the formal launch of the ‘Clean India’ drive at Rajpath. While launching the mission at Mandir Marg, he also made a surprise visit at the local police station to check on its cleanliness.
Modi said, “Today is the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhiji and Lal Bahadur Shastriji. We have gained freedom under leadership of Gandhiji, but his dream of clean India is still unfulfilled.”
He added, “Swachh Bharat Campaign logo is not just a logo, through it Gandhiji is watching us and we all should clean India. I am not claiming that the newly elected government is doing everything. Be it temples, mosques, gurudwaras or any place, we must take efforts to clean our surroundings. Cleanliness is not only the responsibility of the ‘safaai kaamgar’, it is the responsibility of 125 crore Indians. If Indians can reach Mars at a cheap cost, can we not clean our neighbourhoods?”
Giving credit to previous governments, Modi said, “I do not make any claim that only the newly elected government has done everything. All governments have done something or the other to achieve cleanliness in the country; I greet all of them for this. Swachh Bharat mission is beyond politics. It is inspired by patriotism and not politics.”
Thanking the media for supporting this campaign, he said, “I know people will criticise me in the next few days, but to clean India I am ready to face the criticism.”
Stating that this campaign cannot be done by only the government or the ministers, Modi said, “The work is to be done by all Indians. This campaign is for 1.2 billion people and I repeat it 1.2 billion times. This work is not only about a ‘prachar abhiyan’. It is a big effort but we have a lot of time.”
Mentioning that the response he is getting on the social media is heartening, Modi said, “There are thousands of organisations which have been doing the great work of cleanliness, and they should also brought into the picture.”
Modi asked people to take pictures of areas where they saw garbage, then clean the area and take pictures of the clean area. He asked people to upload these images on social media using MyGov, a mobile application.
He added, “I have also started a social media campaign, I have invited nine people to post pictures of them cleaning and they will invite another nine people. It includes Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, master blaster Sachin Tendulkar, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Salman Khan, Yoga guru Ramdev baba and a team of Tarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah.”
“I feel pained to see mothers and daughters to go in the open to relieve themselves. More than 60% people defecate in the open. Constructing more toilets is extremely important and we can at least do this to respect them. Don’t trust my government, but trust Mahatma Gandhi’s devotion to cleanliness,” he added.
Prime Minister Modi also pledged to people saying ‘na main gandagi karoonga,na main gandagi karne doonga’ (I would not litter and won’t allow anyone to do so). He further flagged off a walkathon as part of the Swachh Bharat Campaign.
Millions of people across the country are also joining daily the cleanliness initiatives of the government departments, NGOs and local community centers to make India completely clean by 2019.
The Centre will spend nearly Rs 2 lakh crore in a five-year span as part of its ambitious plan to completely clean India by October 2019, coinciding with the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. While the Urban Development Ministry will allocate Rs 62,000 crore for cleaning towns across the country, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation will spend Rs 1,34,000 crores for the programme to be launched by Modi on October 2.