Kailash Panchal has learned his lessons the hard way. Once fined for throwing a cold drink bottle on road in Kuwait, Panchal, along with one his friends, is now on a cleanliness expedition across the country in his four-wheeler. The 35-year-old man from Rishabhdev region in Udaipur is currently in Kota to spread awareness on cleanliness and the ills of open defecation. His car was flagged of by additional district magistrate Sunita Daga on Thursday.
“I started campaigning for cleanliness way back in 2014. Back then, I travelled in trains and buses to places like Mathura, Ahmedabad and even Chennai to create public awareness through pamphlets and leaflets. I also spoke on the issue at public gatherings and events,” he said, adding that his initiative also takes inspiration from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign.
Panchal has fondly named his four-wheeler Swachch Bharat Bhraman Yatra and has cleanliness slogans pasted all over it. “Starting from February 1, I have embarked on my mission with a renewed effort. I plan to visit 33 districts in Rajasthan and sensitize people about the need to keep their surroundings clean, especially in public places like railway station and bus stands,” he said.
Kailash has installed a public address system in his car, driven by his friend, Prateek Suthar. They take turns to address people or play recorded messages on cleanliness.
So far, the duo has campaigned in Banswara, Pratapgarh, Chittorgarh, Jhalawar, Baran districts.
Panchal’s mission, however, is not his full-time job. Panchal also runs a bangle and cosmetic shop in Rishabdhev. Giving details about the incident that motivated him to start this mission, Panchal said: In 1999-2000, when I visited Kuwait with my uncle, I had once thrown a cold drink bottle on the road. My uncle had to pay a heavy fine for my mistake. What impressed me was the commitment of the country’s administration to keep the surroundings clean. When I came back, I started spreading awareness on cleanliness at the village level. However, after Modi ji launched the Swacch Bharat Mission, I realized I should also do my bit to spread the word. I have distributed around 1000 dustbins in my village in the last three years.”