Govt gears up for Swachh Bharat campaign

  • HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Oct 01, 2014 22:22 IST

Surprise visits, ministers out in their constituencies, bureaucrats on their toes, clearing up files, buying brooms – the government is abuzz with activity, preparing to join in as Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches the Swachh Bharat campaign on Thursday.

From Delhi’s bhawans which house ministries to railway stations across the country, action on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary will span across India’s public spaces.

Railway premises will become the face of the campaign, with cabinet ministers and MPs wielding the broom at platforms and stations. Home Minister Rajnath Singh will engage in cleaning up the Charbagh station at Lucknow, while Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi and Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan will do the honors at the Pilibhit and Hajipur railway stations.

Uma Bharati, Ananth Kumar, and Ravi Shankar Prasad have been roped in for clean-up jobs at the Jhansi, Bengaluru and Patna railway stations respectively. Other ministers too will return to their constituencies.

The Railways Delhi division itself has procured an estimated 12,000 brooms for the October 2 event.

After having once again dusted up his office last week, Railways Minister D V Sadananda Gowda has been taking impromptu inspection visits to different offices, canteens, toilets and cupboards in the Rail Bhawan in past days. “The cleanliness mission will remain a permanent feature with the Railways”, he said recently.

The Urban Development Ministry is spearheading the Rs 62,000 crore Swachh Bharat mission in urban areas as part of which it has proposed to provide toilets in every household by 2019.

The Central Public Works Department has purchased two dozen brooms to clean up Nirman Bhawan, the ministry headquarters. "Walls are being given a fresh coat of paint. Staircases and corridors are being cleaned, old furniture and almirahs etc. are being disposed off," said a senior ministry official. All officials in the ministry have been asked to report to office at 12 to take the cleanliness oath on Thursday. The ministry is also coordinating the cleanliness campaign in Delhi, and has set up a task force comprising senior officials who are monitoring the cleanliness activity being undertaken by the various civic agencies in the city.

Home secretary Anil Goswami carried out surprise checks in different offices under the Home ministry and expressed satisfaction over the ongoing cleanliness activities. Goswami said such surprise checks will be carried out in future as well. He also inspected the NDCC-II Building and offices of MHA in Jaisalmer House. Goswami told officials to adopt the campaign as a part of their day-to-day activities.

At the Ministry of External Affairs, over 1000 officials are set to take part in the mission on Thursday. Foreign secretary Sujatha Singh will read out the cleanliness pledge to the officials at 10 30 am. The voluntary work will take place at three offices – South Block, Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan and Patiala House - as well as the premises of those buildings and public places nearby.

In fact this is the second part of the shramdaan which began in June at the MEA during which premises were cleaned up besides weeding out unnecessary files that were not required to have been sent to the archives.

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