Stating that the country is waging a battle against lack of cleanliness, and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken up the responsibility to fight it with the Swachh Bharat campaign, President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday launched the ‘Swachhata hi Sewa (cleanliness is service)’ programme at Ishwariganj village in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh. The President said that every person associated with this cleanliness mission is a ‘rashtra nirmata’, or nation-builder.
Kovind said that he wants every Indian to be a nation builder, and construction of toilets in one’s house is a work and commitment in that direction. “Rashtrapati toh ek hota hai, lekin is desh ka har nagrik rashtra nirmata hai, ya rashtra nirmata ban sakta hai. Keval hamein rashtra nirman ke bodh ki zaroorat hai (There is only one President in the country but every Indian citizen is, or can be, a nation-builder. We only need to build the sense of nation-building within us),” he said, Kovind also said that women who refuse to get married in a household without toilets are a source of motivation and inspiration for society.
“I express gratitude for those women for their revolutionary decisions,” he said. Approximately 60 km from Kovind’s ancestral village, Paraunkh, Ishwariganj was declared Open Defecation-Free (ODF) in November 2016. The village in Bithoor area, on the outskirts of the district, has all its 379 households equipped with toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission, according to the administration.In what was his first visit to Kanpur after becoming the President, Kovind referred to Amitabh Bachchan’s TV campaign against open defecation and said that the actor was doing that without charging any fee from the government, which can be done only by a nation-builder.
Kovind said cleanliness is not the responsibility of only government departments and sanitation workers and everyone should realise his/her responsibility in this. “Gandagi kisi bhi samaj ke liye ek abhishaap hai (Filth is a curse for any society),” he said. Quoting a survey, the President said that nearly 6.5 crore Indians are suffering from mental illness due to lack of cleanliness.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claimed that the entire state will be made ODF by October 2018, and that he has written to all MPs, MLAs and other public representatives in the state to get associated with the campaign. Union Drinking Water and Sanitation Minister Uma Bharti said the ministry has prepared detailed project reports, funds, started the tender process and handed over everything to Adityanath, and that Adityanath now has to accept the challenge to ensure that the Ganga is clean and free-flowing by 2018.
UP Governor Ram Naik said, “Yadi aapke ghar me devghar nahi hai tab bhi chalega, lekin aapke ghar me shauchalaya hona chahiye (It is all right if your home does not have a temple but it should have a toilet).”