When Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose dream of a clean India led to the launch of the ambitious Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, addressed Chandigarh on Friday, he perhaps did not notice – the venue was anything but clean.
Outside the rally ground at Sector 25, the filth was almost “unbearable”.
“It was impossible to stand near the area where the langar (free food) was being served. The smell was nauseous,” said Anurag Sharma, a resident of Sector 45 after attending the rally.
“Food was trampled upon by people… it was a pathetic scene.”
Modi, who was in City Beautiful to launch the new international airport, attend a convocation at PGIMER, and hand over keys to Sector 63 Chandigarh Housing Board allottees, urged residents to be a part of the smart city campaign.
Although the area where the Prime Minister and the other VVIPs were sitting was clean, just a few metres outside, however, the scene was different: There was garbage all over.
Near the community langar set up for Bharatiya Janata Party workers and supporters by the ally Shirmoani Akali Dal food, disposable items like glasses and plates, and plastic bags lay strewn.
The administration efforts in launching a week-long safai abhiyan (sanitation drive) recently in the city were nowhere to be seen. Many have wondered why the Sector 25 area was not given a facelift, or at least cleaned up, before the Prime Minister’s visit, like the other areas were.
The areas falling on the route which Modi took to and from the new airport, then to PGI, and to the rally ground, had all been made spic and span, with road berms and central verges painted.
“The administration should have at least got the Sector 25 colony cleaned up. The area was as usual dotted with piles of garbage. Things got worse after the rally,” said Rama Singh, a local resident.