A teenager poured all her disgust in a voice message to the Prime Minister over a stinky, garbage-choked river flowing close to her backyard in the Uttarakhand capital.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi liked 16-year-old Gayatri Singh’s explosive appeal for her right to live in a clean environment so much that he included the girl’s audio clip in the 30th edition of his Mann ki Baat monthly radio address on Sunday.
He complimented the class 11 student from Dehradun’s Ajabpur Kala area for flagging a public problem — the rain-fed, seasonal hill river Rispana, which has been turned into a meandering mound of garbage.
Modi quoted the girl’s message to draw people’s attention towards cleanliness, which is necessary for the success of his government’s signature programme, Swachh Bharat. He said her message should be an inspiration for all.
For her part, Gayatri thanked the Prime Minister for acknowledging the problem and highlighting it in his popular radio show.
“He said ‘Gayatri has a lot of anger in her towards this pollution, and every citizen should have the same anger towards pollution, then only can the nation achieve cleanliness’,” she recalled.
She blamed people as well as the government for the filth in the river.
“People throw garbage everywhere because there is no proper arrangement for disposing of waste. Till the time somebody initiates, how will development take place in the region?”
The student of a government girls’ school was desperate to highlight the Rispina river pollution, but didn’t know how to send the message across.
Last weekend, she learnt from a television programme that the local Doordarshan centre records public messages in three-minute audio clips, which are then relayed to the prime minister’s office.
“I went to the Doordarshan office, which is close to my home. The officials recorded my message for the Prime Minister. It was a big surprise for me when it was aired this Sunday,” Gayatri said.
Gayatri and her father, Gulab Singh, were even more surprised when reporters and camerapersons thronged their home after the radio address.
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat too appreciated the girl’s hard-hitting message on how people are destroying the environment.
“She did a good job … In fact, I had been involved in cleaning up the polluted river, a campaign which was carried out for two months,” he said at a Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC) function.
Rawat shared through Twitter photographs of the Rispena cleanliness drive.
“I request people to follow Gayatri’s message and join @narendramodi ji’s cleanliness campaign,” he tweeted.
(With inputs from Deep Joshi and agencies)