This right, he stressed, belonged to those who are engaged in cleaning and sanitation services.Even his bitter detractors will have to concede that no Prime Minister of India, since Independence, has flagged the dire need of cleanliness around us and promoted the idea of Swachchh Bharat so passionately, with such a missionary zeal in India and abroad as has Narendra Modi. Can’t we do it in Delhi?The writer is a former Indian ambassador to Libya. But if he were made to sit in some of these newly-built toilets for 60 seconds, he might faint on account of unbearable stink!Forget about rural India, in NCR itself, there are localities like Balmiki Colony where the impact of Swachchh Bharat is conspicuous by its absence; one can still see running sewerage, piles of filth, pigs and swarm of flies and mosquitoes.
When Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had voiced similar views earlier, he was trolled on the social media and shamed in public by the self-appointed custodians of India’s culture!Congress’ claim that Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan is nothing but a hyped version of their Nirmal Bharat scheme of yesteryears cuts no ice. Who can forget his endearing act in the promotion of Navratna hair oil, Dabur’s Chyawanprash or Ambuja Cement, polio drops, etc. Hindustan Times apts, Nav Bharat Times/Nai Duniya apts have residents from the journalistic fraternity while Supreme apts is abode of advocates of the Supreme Court and Gyan Deep apts have members of academia from universities as its residents. In some European capitals, neat and clean toilets with attendants are available for use at short distance for a small fee. IFS Aptas can boast of the former principal secretary to the PM, former vice-president of India, former NSA, three former foreign secretaries and two former ambassadors to the US among its members.But in over-anxiety to please the PM, none should inflate its positive impact or paper over its deficiencies and drawbacks. Sri Ram Centre, NSD, AIFACS and Delhi’s universities and colleges are known for leaking and stinking toilets.
The purpose of mentioning these facts is not to find fault with the government’s efforts, but to sanitise against the growing mismatch between media hype and prevailing ground realities so that corrective measures are taken and situation is redressed. Yet, if one walks in any direction from the Metro station of Mayur Vihar Phase-I for two km, one will not find a single bin or a public toilet along the streets.Swachchh Bharat promoters must guard against “over kill” or fall prey to exaggeration. Unlike his predecessors, he spoke about Swachchh Bharat loud and clear from the ramparts of the Red Fort. No sane person should oppose this campaign; it deserves to be supported by all cutting across party lines as it is in the interest of the practitioners, society and the nation at large.Mayur Vihar Phase-I isn’t a slum area; it’s associated with some very influential persons; while the BJP candidate won his parliamentary seat, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had won his Assembly seat from here. A solitary toilet built by an MP near Shiv Temple two years back, remains permanently locked though a board bearing his name in bold hangs outside prominently. DDA’s Vivekananda Park near Sahyog apts frequented by over 5,000 citizens every day doesn’t have a toilet. However, the facts tell a different story. Like an iconoclast, he announced that India needs more shaunchalayas than devalayas (temples).The credit for the most imaginative and appealing advertisement for Swachchh Bharat campaign should go to the clip which shows Vidya Balan telling folks to remove the ghoonghat of the bride if they wanted her to defecate in open and make them realise the significance of in-house toilet. Various grades of fines on violators of no litter rule. He has lent his hand on the broom at various places in India literally forcing his ministers and chief ministers to do the same, thus conveying an unmistakable message to government authorities and the people at large that he meant business.There is general misperception that areas inhabited by the poor are more likely to be dirty and unhygienic. Yes, crores of toilets have been built in different parts of India but a large number of them exist on paper, they are non-functional, locked for months with no water supply! Amitabh Bachchan exhorts people to go inside the toilet and close the door (darwaja band).
Whatever activity this colony witnessed for TV cameras when the PM visited it, vanished within days after his visit; not surprisingly, locals often become victims of malaria and dengue. “Jahan soch wahan shaunchalaya” is about women’s dignity and empowerment.And just China Backlit Blade Letter Signs wholesale last week, while celebrating 125 years of Swami Vivekananda’s historic speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, in 1893, he pronounced that those who dirty the Earth by throwing garbage and litter have no right to sing Vande Matram. The same is true about his “darwaja band” clip for Swachchh Bharat; it’s hilarious, sharp and persuasive.Provision of segregated litter bins at a reasonable distance and daily collection and disposal of garbage.The success of civic cleanliness in some of the cleanest capitals in the world has rested on three pillars: An extensive network of clean, hygienically maintained functional toilets with running water and hand washing and drying facilities at reasonable distance with clear signage.He raised it unhesitatingly at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, New York in September 2014 with the likes of the Hollywood’s Wolverine, Hugh Jackman.If MPs/MLAs ensure implementation of Mr Modi’s Swachchh Bharat campaign in letter and spirit in their constituencies, utilising the constituency development funds, it can transform the environment. Connaught Place and Khan Market, popular with upper class of the society, don’t have public toilets, which can be used by foreign tourists without running the risk of catching infection. Can they recall, which of their PMs had ever spoken about it from the Red Fort or spent so much of time, energy and efforts to popularise it and get it implemented across the country?
It’s no secret that Big B is an exceptional actor; he infuses life even in the most mundane advertisements creating a distinct buzz about the products he promotes