The Army has issued instructions to its units for complying with the directive given by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) asking for the litter left behind by tourists in high altitude areas to be cleared. One such directive issued by the Central Command Headquarters in Lucknow has given detailed orders regarding the cleanliness drive which has to be undertaken in high altitude areas as well as operational areas under the Swachhta Ahbiyan. This campaign will last till October 2 but it may extend for more period of time depending upon the magnitude of the task. Among the locations identified by Central Command for carrying out this drive are Gangotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Hemkund, Mount Kamet Base and the road stretch between Dharchula to Lipulekh which falls on the Indo-Tibet border.
As per the directive, a platoon of the local Army unit will be deployed under each location where the cleanliness drive is to be undertaken and this platoon will be led by an officer. The activities which the troops are required to undertake include area sanitisation, removal of non-bio degradable waste and spreading cleanliness and sanitation awareness in the area. The help and support of local civilian population is also sought to be undertaken for the purpose.
The lower formations of the Army have been instructed to arrange for “maximum media publicity of both, electronic and print media” and a daily situation report has to be submitted to higher headquarters under the heading of “Swachhta Sewa Campaign”. The entire exercise is also to be extensively shot on video as well as still photographs.
The Minister of Defence, Nirmala Sitharaman, had announced last week in Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh) that the PMO had desired that the high altitude areas be cleaned of the litter left behind by tourists and that this order will be carried out by the MoD. This initiative formed part of a three-part directive by the PMO which included cleaning up the civilian areas of the various cantonments which dot the country as well as the sanitation drive of the cantonment areas as a whole.