Clean sweep

Says san­i­ta­tion cov­er­age in In­dia has in­creased from 40% to over 90% in four years of ‘Swachh Bharat’

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - Press Trust of In­dia Dainik Ja­gran.

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

AP ■

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.

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