Says sanitation coverage in India has increased from 40% to over 90% in four years of ‘Swachh Bharat’
In safe hands: College students taking part in a beach clean-up at Dadar on the International Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday. Students joined hands with the Coast Guard in Maharashtra to spread awareness on keeping beaches clean.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the “Swachhata Hi Seva” (“cleanliness is service”) campaign on Saturday, and took up a broom to clean a school named after Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar. Union Ministers and BJP leaders and workers participated in similar exercises across the country.
In a nearly two-hour video interaction with people from across the country, including religious leaders, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and noted personalities such as Amitabh Bachchan and Ratan Tata, Mr. Modi said the sanitation coverage in India had increased from 40% to over 90% in the four years of the “Swachh Bharat” (Clean India) project.
He said few would have thought that nine crore toilets would be built and 4.5 lakh villages declared free of open defecation in four years.
He launched the “cleanliAll ness is service” exercise to push for greater public participation in one of his government’s centrepiece programmes launched on October 2, 2015. It will continue till Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary next month.
sections of society and every part of the country had joined the cleanliness drive, he said, exhorting people to rededicate themselves to fulfilling Gandhiji’s dream of a clean India.
“Had anybody imagined that more than 450 districts would be open-defecationfree (ODF) in four years or that 20 States and Union Territories would be open-defecation-free in four years,” he said.
Mr. Adityanath said Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous and among the most poor States, would be ODF by October 2.
Pat for Adityanath
He said his government was working to ensure that every family had a toilet by October 2019. His government’s emphasis on cleanliness had led to a drastic fall in vectorborne diseases, Mr. Adityanath said. Mr. Modi lauded Mr. Adityanath for his government’s efforts.
The Prime Minister spoke to people in States such as Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Haryana. He also interacted with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel involved in cleaning the Pangong Lake and its surroundings in Leh, besides religious and spiritual figures, including Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Mata Amritanandamayi.
He interacted with Sikh religious figures from Patna Sahib gurdwara, Muslim custodians of Ajmer Sharif and those from the media group
New lessons: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeting students during a cleanliness drive at the Baba Sahib Ambedkar Higher Secondary School in Paharganj, New Delhi, on Saturday.