Minutes after pledging not to litter at the launch of the Swachh Bharat, or Clean India Mission, at Rajpath, senior bureaucrats left empty water bottles and pamphlets on their seats as soon as the function got over on Thursday.
Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi administered the cleanliness pledge before going on a walk along Delhi’s main boulevard with school children, the top officials left behind enclosures strewn with pamphlets with the Clean India oath clearly written on them.
“I was dreading it when I saw officials being careless with empty water bottles. There were volunteers moving around with empty cartons to collect the bottles. But it seems that they didn’t even show patience to wait for the volunteers to come,” said a bureaucrat present at the launch function.
Modi spoke for about 25 minutes at the function, asking everyone present to take a pledge of cleanliness with him. Cleaning India is not the responsibility of only safai karamcharis or the government, he said, but of all 125 crore Indians.
“I will neither litter not let others litter. I will initiate the quest for cleanliness with myself, my family, my locality, my village and my work place. I believe that the countries of the world that appear clean are so because their citizens don’t indulge in littering nor do they allow it to happen. With this firm belief, I will propagate the message of Swachh Bharat Mission in villages and towns,” went the pledge he administered to people at the venue.
Messages of shame accompanied the photos of the littered enclosures that flooded social media in no time.
“Changing mindset is a Himalayan task. It is rightly recognised by the prime minister. Hope this will not repeat,” wrote Shankara on Twitter.
Ramana tweeted: “Not surprised. Sounds like a classroom, where intake is through one ear and exit through the other!”