Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Thursday formally launched the “Swachh Bharat” campaign from Porbandar and compared it to India’s freedom movement.
To rid India of filth is as daunting task as achieving Independence, and to accomplish the mission of a clean India would require a mass struggle like our Freedom Struggle, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel said on Thursday.
“Bapu loved cleanliness the most. But to rid the country of filth is as tough a task as it was to win Independence….During Freedom Struggle, (initially) people were fighting as individuals. But Gandhi turned this fight into a people’s movement by bringing all together. If we want to clean India, it can be done only and only through a similar people’s movement — when each individual forms a habit of not littering anywhere,” a poignant Patel said after attending an all-religion prayer held at Kirti Mandir here, the birth place of the Mahatma Gandhi on his 146th birth anniversary.
Echoing words of Prime Mnister Narendra Modi, the CM opined that Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, helped India win its freedom but the country had not given anything to the Mahatma in return. “Let’s take a pledge to gift Gandhi a clean India on his 150th birth anniversary in 2019….Let’s take a pledge to inculcate at least one of the values that the Mahatma lived by, in our lives and present Gandhi a clean and healthy India five years from now,” Patel told the gathering at Kirti Mandir.
Patel also said that as a women CM, it was her dream to have a toilet for each and every woman in Gujarat. “Porbandar alone has 19,000 households without toilets. As a woman Chief Minister, it is my dream to have toilet for each and every woman of the state. We have decided to make it compulsory for elected representatives of local bodies like panchayats to build toilets in their residences within six months or they may face disqualification. We have also decided to make it mandatory for persons wanting to contest local body polls from 2015 to have a toilet at their respective homes as a pre-condition,” Patel said while speaking at another programme in Kadia Plot area of Porbadar to formally launch state-level programmes of Mahatma Gandhi Swachchhta Mission.
The CM did all the cleaning herself using a broom before going on the stage. The state government had launched programmes since September 25 in the run up to the launch of the national mission by PM Modi on Thursday.
Patel said the state government had holistic plans to make Gujarat clean by 2019. “We are providing underground drainage lines in the state. But the drains flow in local dams or nullah and villages in their surroundings face problems. Therefore, we have decided to set up sewage treatment plants in municipalities by 2019 so that waste water is treated and reclycled,” said Patel
She made the women in the audience promise her that they will not litter and pledge donating 100 hours for cleaning every year.
According to tradition, Gujarat CMs visit the coastal town of Porbandar every year on October 2 and attend the prayer at Kirti Mandir. PM Modi also used to visit Kirti Mandir during his days as CM of Gujarat. Patel also released audio CD of the prayer held last year in the attendance of Modi.