The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has appointed Deepa Malik and Arunima Sinha as brand ambassadors for its Swachh NDMC initiative.
Deepa Malik is a Rio Paralympics silver medallist and Arjun awardee and Arunima Sinha is the first female amputee to climb Mt Everest.
“For me, Swachh Bharat is synonymous with patriotism. Patriotism is not about standing up for the National Anthem or painting your cheek with the tricolour at a sporting arena. Swachh Bharat is about making my country, my city beautiful. It is about taking ownership. You can’t be a bystander, you have to become an integral part. If not, you are not patriotic,” Malik told HT.
The Swachh ambassadors will take part in a sustained sanitation drive in different areas, to sensitise people from different walks of life to make sanitation a routine and regular exercise in their daily existence.
“India is so rich in every aspect. The only thing keeping it back is cleanliness and sanitation. To be a developed country, this needs to be our first priority. As a wheelchair-bound person, I can tell you, this adds to the problems. Say there is a ramp at a place I am going but it is covered in muck. This becomes double challenging.
“Both I and Arunima have risen above our challenges and given the nation reasons to rejoice. We are not preaching by words, we are doing it through actions. What excuse do you have? Can’t you push yourself to go to a public waste bin and throw the garbage inside?” Malik asked.
Her fellow ambassador, 28-year-old Arunima Sinha, was a national-level volleyball player who was pushed from a running train by thieves in 2011. As a result, one of her legs had to be amputated below the knee.
“My life was nearly over. I still got up and achieved the impossible. Why can’t our youth do this much. Despite being able, why do they behave to be physically challenged,” Arunima, whose conquests include Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus in Europe, Kosizko in Australia and Aconcagua in Argentina, said.
This move has been initiated by the NDMC ahead of the Swachh Bharat ranking, which is due this month. Last time, NDMC rank fourth and this time the council is aiming to score the first position, an official said.
Earlier this month, the council deployed ‘Swachh Sewaks,’ cleanliness mascots, to stop open defecation and urination.