The national launch of ‘Swachh Shakti Saptah’ took place at Gurgaon’s Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Sector-38 on Wednesday. The event saw participation from women panchayat chiefs, Anganwadi workers, in which women sarpanches, Anganwadi workers, ANMs (female health workers deputed in villages), ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists) and members of women self-help groups across all 6 districts of Gurgaon division.
The nationwide effort is primarily aimed raising public awareness on cleanliness and putting women at the forefront of the drive.
A workshop was also organised on the sidelines of the launch to make the women participants aware of the benefits of cashless transaction and at one of the many stalls that were put up at the event, an Aadhaar enrolment machine was installed to provide an opportunity to women who are not yet part of the world’s largest biometric identification system.
Union minister Narender Singh Tomar and Haryana development and panchayat minister OP Dhankhar were among the top dignitaries who were present on the occasion. They released colourful balloons into the sky signalling the launch of ‘Swachh Shakti Saptah’.
Addressing the participants, the BJP from Gwalior said the participation of women is critical to making the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) a success. As the name suggests, the mission is to take the cleanliness drive to the remotest parts of the country. He said that it order to make ‘Swachhata’, cleanliness, a habit and a part of our daily lives, the Union government has exhorted all states to dedicate the entire week and, especially the International Women’s Day on March 8, to this cause.
He voiced hope that a large number of women, especially in villages, will play an active role in this drive going forward and turn it into a mass movement. The weeklong event will culminate in Ahmedabad on March 8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the chief guest at the event to be organised on the closing day.
More than 6,000 women sarpanches and health workers will take part in this event. Tomar said, “By getting more women to be part of this movement, we will able to realise our broad vision of making the country open defecation-free (ODF) by 2019.
Dhankhar, the state panchayat and development minister, said the first two districts of Haryana that were declared open defecation-free as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission (rural) in Panchkula and Sirsa, had women deputy commissioners at the time the announcement was made.
He said that by the time Haryana Day is celebrated this year, all villages will become open defecation-free. Crediting women for driving the state towards cleanliness, he said rural areas are, in fact, doing better than urban areas in driving this change towards ODF.
At the event, deputy commissioners of 11 districts of Haryana were honoured for making them open defecation-free.