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Mahatma Gandhi’s inspiration draws 320 million Indians in massive cleanliness drive

Clean India drive picks up steam (Image courtesy: Twitter)

More than 320 million citizens across the country have joined the nationwide campaign aimed at achieving Garbage Free India under the Swachhata Hi Seva (SHS) programme in the last 14 days. On an average about 22 million people have been participating in the ‘Jan Andolan’ every day.

The SHS campaign is being observed between September 15 and October 2 this year.

This year’s theme under SHS is ‘Garbage Free India’ with focus on visual cleanliness and welfare of SafaiMitras – sanitation heroes. Like earlier years the spirit of cleanliness activities is voluntarism or shramdaan.

About 15 crore citizens have actively participated in Shramdaan, contributing voluntary labour to multiple activities. These efforts include cleaning of nearly 5,300 beaches, revitalizing 4,300 riverbanks and waterfronts, reclaiming over 10,700 legacy waste sites, improving 2400 tourist and iconic destinations, and restoring over 93,000 public spaces.

According to an official statement, additionally, over 12,000 water bodies have been cleaned and another 60,000 institutional buildings rejuvenated. That apart, about 47,000 garbage-vulnerable sites have been cleaned as well. “These numbers reflect the unwavering dedication and the power of ‘Jan Andolan’ to bring about rapid transformation,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, 75 per cent of India’s villages have achieved “Open Defecation Free status”. The villages have also made arrangements for solid or liquid waste management, reflecting the government’s initiative towards sanitation and cleanliness.

Notably, the country has also charted welfare schemes for the sanitation heroes – the SafaiMitra. Besides regular health check-up camps, yoga sessions have been organized as well.

The women self help groups and youth have particularly played a role in scripting the SHS success story. Many senior citizens have been seen cleaning up beaches, parks, public places and playing their part for the SHS drive.

Also read: PM Modi nails team spirit, mass participation to drive New India