Tuesday February 19, 2019
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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Time to ‘be the change’

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Picture Courtesy : greymeter.com

By Anjali Gursahaney

On October 2, last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a nationwide cleanliness campaign called the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.” He used Gandhiji’s spectacles as its symbol and laid down a vision to have a Clean India. Nine influential personalities in India including Sachin Tendulkar and Baba Ramdev were nominated by him to start the cleaning effort.

Except Priyanka Chopra and Kamal Hasan, each of them took brooms in hands with their teams and further nominated nine people to join the campaign.

Swachh Bharat or mere symbolism

Picture Courtesy: ndtv.com
Picture Courtesy: ndtv.com

 

Started with a gusto and nationwide goodwill, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has emerged as nothing more than a mere symbolism. Should government be blamed for this or should we blame ourselves? Modi had clearly stated that it was people’s campaign to clean their place and not government’s. Government can provide infrastructure but it should be our habit to throw garbage in bins. Throwing litter everywhere and blaming government of symbolism won’t help.

Tirupati was awarded as the cleanest holy city, recently. Even Banaras, a city where the Prime Minister paid personal attention since it is his Lok Sabha constituency, has started to change for better. The Ghaats are now cleaner. When asked from a local resident about the change, he said: “jaise hi Modi ne jadu uthya wase hi CM aur District Magistrate bhee neend se uth gaye.” (The moment Modi picked the broom, the CM and District Magistrate too woke up from slumber.)

Delhi: Capital of India

Picture Courtesy: Anjali Gursahaney
Picture Courtesy: Anjali Gursahaney

Let me tell you what I have noticed in the past year.
The silver colored dustbins with Swachh Bharat symbol lie empty. Walk through any busy market in Delhi and you will notice that people do not care to use dustbins. People spit on the walls or even outside the dustbins. Some people who try putting the rubbish in dustbin, miss the shot.

Picture Courtesy: Anjali Gursahaney
Picture Courtesy: Anjali Gursahaney

Interestingly, when safai karamchaaris come to collect the waste, they don’t find anything in it and leave as it is not their job to pick the waste outside dustbins. We cant blame them for not picking the waste outside the dustbin, rather people need to understand the purpose of a dustbin.

Typically, people choose to throw trash anywhere but in dustbins. They choose to urinate in public places, they spit on the road. To curb this menace, some people have tried pasting posters of gods and goddesses on walls. Even this does not prove effective.

A colleague of mine told me that she resides in a very posh locality of Delhi where people spend lakhs of rupees just in bhajan kirtan. Their apartments are so tidy. However, when you use lifts and stairs, or anything that is meant for general use, you see garbage, and spit marks due to gutka and paan.

Talking to NewsGram, a Delhi resident Anirudh Soorma said: “Every time you tell people to throw waste in dustbins they make fun of you and they even say ‘Modi ko phone karo’ (call Modi) and other such flowery phrases. I don’t understand what pride they get by littering in their own country!”
Kumar, a local street vendor, remarked that some people just don’t care, “Log aate hain aur jhahan dil kare wahan kachra fek dete hain! Kaafi bar bolna padta hai ki yahan dabba rakha hua hai, yaha fekiye. Yeh bolne ke baad bhee kuch log kasht nahi krte uthakr fekne ka.” (People come and throw garbage wherever they like. Many times I tell them that there is the dustbin, throw the garbage in it. Still people don’t take the pains to pick and throw inside the bins.)
The other day, I saw a college girl throwing a bottle of Coke randomly in the market. When I asked her to pick that up, she said, “One bottle won’t clean Delhi”. Bystanders who heard the conversation said: “Yeh toh roz ka maamla hai . Agar hum log ek dusre ko ese check karke bolte rehe toh shayad is desh ka kucch ho jaaye.” (This is an everyday affair. If we keep checking each other, maybe, we could do some good to the nation.)

NewsGram spoke to yet another Delhi resident, Parul Keswani, who said: “It is not merely garbage. People leave their alcohol bottles in public place. The other day I went to Hauz Khas Lake. There were so many broken glass bottles due of which my sister got her leg hurt.”

Way Forward
“In our country, personal hygiene has been a focus, but social hygiene is an issue. People are very cautious about personal hygiene. But we have not been giving much importance to social hygiene, we now have to give importance to social hygiene,” PM Modi said at Safaigiri Awards 2015 function.

Picture Courtesy: narendramodi.in
Picture Courtesy: narendramodi.in

Modi further added: “From the days of independence, Indians have thought that the government has to do everything but this needs to change now.”

Swachh Bharat  programme will never be successful if it is taken as the government or Modi’s programme. This has to be our programme,” he added.

If we want clean environment then it has to start from ourselves. The government needs to put sanitation structure in place and we as the society must play our part in maintaining the basic sanitation.

“Be the change you want to see.”- Mahatma Gandhi

Next Story

A Clean Ganga Not Possible Without Continuous Flow: Green

Bandyopadhayay stressed that the future of the Ganga, as well as that of its tributaries, depends on how quickly the transformation is made

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The Holy River Ganga in Haridwar, Source: Pixabay

By Bappaditya Chatterjee

The Centre’s efforts to rejuvenate the Hindu holy river have failed to impress environmentalists, who feel a clean Ganga will remain a distant dream due to the Modi government’s failure to ensure the continuous flow of the river.

“Nothing has been done for ensuring a continuous flow of the river and also for its rejuvenation by the Narendra Modi government. Continuity is of supreme importance as the holy river has been admitted in the Intensive Care Unit for many years. But the Centre is trying to treat its teeth,” said Magsaysay awardee and a member of the erstwhile National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), Rajendra Singh.

Spending crores of rupees for beautification of ghats has been “wastage of the public exchequer” because “without ensuring a continuous flow, clean Ganga will continue to remain a distant dream”, said Rajendra Singh, who goes by the sobriquet “Waterman of India”.

 

Ganga, travel
River Ganga is one of the holiest rivers in India. Pixabay

Soon after assuming office, the Modi government rolled out its flagship “Namami Gange” mission at an estimated budget Rs 20,000 crore to clean and protect the Ganga.

 

Under Namami Gange, 254 projects worth Rs 24,672 crore have been sanctioned for various activities such as construction of sewage infrastructure, ghats, development of crematoria, river front development, river surface cleaning, institutional development, biodiversity conservation, afforestation, rural sanitation and public participation.

According to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, 131 projects out of 254 were sanctioned for creating 3,076 MLD (million litre per day) new sewage treatment plants (STPs), rehabilitating 887 MLD of existing STPs and laying 4,942 km of sewer lines for battling pollution in the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.

 

River Ganga is one of the holiest, yet the most polluted river.
River Ganga is also the most polluted river.

Till November-end of the 2018-19 fiscal, the National Mission for Clean Ganga released Rs 1,532.59 crore to the states and the Central Public Sector Undertakings for implementing the programme and meeting establishment expenditure.

Rajendra Singh said: “Ganga wants freedom today. There is no need for any barrage or dam. We want building of dams and any constructions on the river be stopped.”

 

Echoing Singh, another member of the now dissolved NGRBA, K.J. Nath, said the flow of the river had been obstructed at many locations and its own space (flood plains) encroached upon at multiple places in the name of riverfront development.

However, Jayanta Bandyopadhayay, a former Professor of IIM-Calcutta and presently Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, said the success or otherwise of initiatives and projects of any government in cleaning the Ganga cannot be judged in a five-year time frame.

Also Read: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Inaugurates Bogibeel Bridge Over Brahmaputra River

Managing a river like the Ganga, the lifeline of a very large number of people, is socio-technically a very complex issue and should be addressed with deep interdisciplinary knowledge, he added.

Bandyopadhayay stressed that the future of the Ganga, as well as that of its tributaries, depends on how quickly the transformation is made from the one dimensional perspective of rivers by engineers, political leaders, policymakers and others to a multidimensional and interdisciplinary one. (IANS)