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Lawyer who led cleanliness drive at Versova beach thanks PM for encouragement

Afroz Shah, a 36-year-old lawyer at the Bombay High Court, was praised by Modi during the radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

india Updated: May 31, 2017 10:22 IST
Press Trust of India, Mumbai
Versova beach,PM Modi,Cleanliness drive
What the Versova beach looks like after 85 weeks of intense cleaning.(HT Photo)

A Mumabi-based lawyer, who was lauded on Sunday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the cleanliness work at Versova beach, thanked the Prime Minister saying his words will act as a morale booster.

Afroz Shah, a 36-year-old lawyer at the Bombay High Court, was praised by Modi during the radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ for the cleanliness work done by him and his team to transform the beach.

“A few days ago, you must have heard that the Versova beach in Mumbai, which was infamous for its filth has now transformed into a clean and beautiful beach. People toiled for about 80-90 weeks, unceasingly and turned Versova beach around by extracting thousand of tonnes of waste materials and today Versova beach is clean and beautiful,” Modi had said.

“This campaign was owned by Versova Residence volunteer or VRV. A gentleman called Afroz Shah started this mission from October, 2015 whole heartedly with all his might, slowly people started joining his bandwagon and turned into a people’s movement. For this outstanding work, United Nations Environment Programme or UNEP awarded Champion of the Earth Award to Afroz Shah, and thus he has become the first Indian to achieve this distinctio,” the PM added.

“I congratulate Afroz Shah, and felicitate this people’s movement. The manner in which he gathered the people of the area into a peoples collective and gave it the shape of a people’s movement in itself an inspiring example,” Modi had said.

An elated Shah said he was thankful to the prime minister for the kind words.

“This has further encouraged me to expand my mission and I would like to replicate (it) at all the beaches across the country, and not only in Mumbai,” said Shah.

In pics: 85 weeks later, 5.3 million kg trash lighter, this is what Versova beach looks like now

The lawyer said he had taken an oath to continue cleaning the beaches on a mission mode.

“I would continue till I am physically active or my limbs help me and I am confident to take a large number of people along with me in my mission,” he added.

According to Shah, since the drive has been launched, his team has so far removed around 5.5 million kg of waste in 85 weeks from the Versova beach.

“My team members go the beach every Saturday and Sunday and collect the garbage and dump it near the points from where, BMC (civic body) men take it to segregation centres,” Shah explained.

First Published: May 28, 2017 21:28 IST