Guest column: Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, the broom that does not sweep?

  • Colonel RD Singh (retd), Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jan 31, 2016 10:11 IST
Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi a year ago, but there seems to be no noticeable improvement in sanitation. (HT File Photo)

Off and on, we see VIPs holding a broom each to clean-what? Half a dozen brooms, in a six feet area, and nothing to sweep! That is the reason the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan has still not made much headway-more on paper than on ground!

We have completed over one year of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but there seems to be no noticeable improvement in sanitation. I can still see the old garbage dumps in our area, as also some new ones. I see no new garbage bins or safai karamcharis for emptying the existing bins. Worst is, garbage dumping grounds are inadequate. As a result, there is no place to even dispose off garbage, even if it is collected. Additional waste treatment plants are yet to become functional. This is the authorities’ part, depicting a sad state of affairs.

But what about us-the citizens? We are very good at blaming others, and passing the buck, without owning personal responsibility. We still keep throwing garbage out in the open, polythene on the roads and pathways, and leave a function venue looking ugly, littered with empty Bisleri bottles, plastic plates and cups etc. I have seen even big hotels and dhabas piling up garbage outside their premises. No clean up act can succeed unless we all become part of it. We have to adopt ‘Do it yourself ’ principle in letter and spirit. Rather than waiting for someone else to come and clean up our locality or house, why don’t we contribute in an individual effort? Each one of us should chip in to keep our streets clean. How much time does it takeonly the ego has to be shed.

Yes, on the part of the municipal corporation and district administration, they are awfully lacking in disposal of garbage. Unless garbage is collected and disposed off or recycled, where else would people throw garbage? Here the authorities need to take the government’s instructions seriously. We are sure there is no paucity of funds for cleanliness. The focus and priorities have to be right. The MPs and MLAs, and the MC staff must go on ground and see how people, particularly the under privileged, are living in the midst of filth, with spread of diseases and unhygienic conditions. Why are we turning a blind eye to it? Living in muck, people will think only muck. We must clean our surroundings. The improvement must start from home.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan is not a month’s or a year’s programme, but a life-long one-a matter of habit. It is like a voluntary blood donation. We have to make it a habit, and part of our life. We have to love cleanliness, and live it. We are too used to someone else doing the cleaning part. We consider it menial. No more please. We have got to take a lead. Cleanliness is God. Let us remember it.

The writer is a retired army officer living in Ambala. The views expressed are personal.

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