The Ministries of Culture and Tourism have put all officials on duty Sunday to monitor implementation of polythene ban at monuments. The ban comes into effect on October 2, coinciding with Gandhi Jayanti and the day PM Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
Also, each official is supposed to carry out a safai abhiyan at the monument they visit.
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Confirming this, Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said, “Yes, we have put all our officials at work towards this noble cause of cleanliness. Starting tomorrow, we are going to request people to keep our monuments polythene-free. A month or two later, we shall start collecting fines from offenders. The ultimate plan is to ban plastic in the 200-m radius of protected monuments.” The minister will visit the Red Fort as part of the initiative.
On Friday, the ministry sent a note to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), asking it to “make protected monuments polythene-free”. There are currently nearly 3,650 ASI-protected monuments.
Besides officials of the Culture and Tourism ministries, the entire staff of ASI will also be on duty on October 2. “All of us are going to monuments in Delhi and elsewhere in India to take part in the programme,” said T J Alone, Director (Monument), at ASI.
The officials will be joined in the Safai Abhiyan by hundreds of schoolchildren and NCC cadets.
ASI officials, however, have no clarity on how the ban will be implemented in the 200 m radius. A senior ASI official said, “While it is possible to ban polythene on the premises of a monument, we don’t know how the plan could be implemented in the areas around it, which have residential and commercial establishments.”
An official in the ministry said the ban will start with 25 Adarsh monuments, including Humayun’s Tomb and Red Fort in Delhi, Taj Mahal in Agra, Hampi in Karnataka and Elephanta Caves in Mumbai. It will then be expanded to all the protected monuments in phases.