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PM Modi launches ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ campaign, exhorts people to fulfill Gandhi’s dream of clean India

PM Modi said the sanitation coverage in India has increased to over 90 per cent from 40 per cent in the four years of “Swachh Bharat” (Clean India) project.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2018 03:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PM Modi,Swachhata Hi Seva,Gandhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets schoolchildren as he undertakes a cleanliness drive under 'Swachhta Hi Sewa' campaign in the premises of Baba Sahib Ambedkar Higher Secondary School at Paharganj, in New Delhi, Saturday, Sept 15, 2018. (PTI)

For students of the Baba Sahib Ambedkar Higher Secondary School in Paharganj, Saturday’s plantation drive with teachers in their school compound became a once-in-a-lifetime moment with a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

To launch the Swachhata Hi Seva Abhiyan (cleanliness is service movement), PM Modi visited the Baba Sahib Ambedkar Higher Secondary School in Paharganj.

He paid homage to Dr BR Ambedkar, who had established the campus in 1946 with an aim to advance the educational, social and economic well-being of the scheduled castes, and swept the area around the statue. After the “shramdaan manual labour)”, he then proceeded to interact with students, who had gathered around him excitedly.

“Our students started shouting ‘Modi, Modi’. I though they are doing so out of excitement, but within seconds I realised that the visitor was the Prime Minister himself,” Rajbar Singh Bhandari, vice-principal of Delhi’s government’s aided school, said.

The quiet school activity was first interrupted by a handful of curious onlookers, who gathered at the school’s entrance gate. Accustomed to the attention that follows political leaders, children and teachers of the school, which is in the same compound as the Bhawan, ignored the hubbub.

Soon, a cavalcade of black SUVs entered the school premises. The area was immediately cordoned off by the Special Protection Group—the elite security unit, which guards the Prime Minister—and the air reverberated with squeals of excitement from the children.

“Modiji asked me if I wash my hands after eating food. He also told us that cleanliness would lead to good health. He swept the complex area near the statue and it was great moment to see the Prime Minister do this job,” said an excited Shivam, who is a student of class 6.

“He (Modi) asked students interesting questions about daily hygiene, such as whether they cut their nails regularly, have a bath or segregate garbage and discard it in the waste bin. He came around 11.15am and stayed for 20 minutes,” Bhandari said.

When Modi asked students if they were aware of any advertisements on cleanliness drive, an enthusiastic student was heard on tape, saying, “We have seen so many advertisements, such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Swachhta hi Sewa. We even following these tenets in our day-to-day lives.”

The Swachhata movement aims at boosting public participation in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and is being organised in the run-up to the fourth anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2 next month, which will also mark the commencement of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi.

First Published: Sep 15, 2018 15:06 IST