Guwahati: Close to the Indo-Bangladesh border in East Khasi Hills districts of Meghalaya, there is a small Khasi village called Mawlynnong which has won the sobriquet of being Asia’s cleanest village.
Over the years this village has turned into a major tourist destination, with every passing year the inflow of both domestic and foreign tourists have gone up.
The villagers were further inspired when Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned their village on his radio programme Mann Ki Baat on Sunday.
Modi praised the cleanliness drive of the village and claimed it to be a role model for his pet project – Clean India.
On Tuesday, the villagers decided to invite Modi to visit the village and promote it globally. The Dorbar Shnong (village council) will officially invite him to spend a night in the village.
Thomlin Khongthohrem, the headman of Mawlynnong, told reporters in the state capital Shillong that villagers were excited when they heard Modi praising their efforts.
In the Sunday broadcast of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Modi mentioned Mawlynnong saying that it was Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan who wrote to him about the village. If fact the Modi was not aware the village was awarded ‘cleanest village’ by a travel magazine Discover India in 2003 and the cleanest in India in 2005.
“I was happy to know that in our country there is such a village in the North-East, in Meghalaya, which is passionately carrying forward the mission of cleanliness for years. All this infuses confidence in us that our country will surely be clean through the efforts of the countrymen,” Modi said.
Importantly, a pat from Modi came when the village faces a threat of loosing out its cleanliness mission.
With ever increasing number of tourists, dumping of plastics has become a big problem in the area. The villager are also finding it difficult to keep both the pressing demands from tourists and cleanliness drive afoot parallel.
The villagers felt that Modi’s support would help them get government funds to keep their drive sustainable.
The villager would also request Modi to help them develop the village into a global tourist destination.
The 90-km drive from Shillong to this border village overlooking the Bangladesh border also have several enchanting tourist attractions on the way.
In this village, everyone is an ardent preacher of cleanliness. They live in houses that are built with traditional material like stone, tin, bamboo and wood.
Each house is decorated with exotic and ornamental plants, while the courtyards are covered with a green carpet of grass.
Each walkway has a cone shaped dustbin to put waste, and the village council maintain a strict vigil over any attempt of littering.
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