New Delhi: President Shri Pranab Mukherjee today expressed concern over poor sanitation conditions in Indian cities and called for immediate remedial measures through effective actions by all stakeholders. He addressed about 100 icons from different walks of life who have been designated as Swachh Bharat Ambassadors by Prime Minister, Urban Development Minister and state governments in the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhawan this evening.
The President said : “Long before Independence, Gandhiji said that sanitation is as important as political freedom. Even 68 years after Independence, statistics regarding sanitation speak otherwise. Now is the time for action. Ambassadors can influence public to adopt sanitation practices. Besides generating awareness, Ambassadors can motivate public into effective actions through continuous involvement until each city is clean”.
Urban Development Minister Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu said ‘’The country and countrymen are in dire need of freedom from littering and dumping of waste, freedom from open defecation and urination and freedom from ill health caused by lack of hygiene”. He complimented the icons for associating themselves with Swachh Bharat Mission and urged them to be more pro-active all through the mission period. Shri Naidu noted that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the Mission last year as part of several major initiatives to transform India.
Both Shri Mukherjee and Shri Naidu expressed hope that on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma in 2019, the Nation would pay him a befitting tribute by ensuring Clean India.
Speaking on behalf of the Ambassadors, Smt.Amala Akkineni, Chairperson, Blue Cross, Hyderabad, after narrating her experiences of field work said that Swachh Bharat Mission besides cleaning is all about ending discriminatory and derogatory attitudes towards working those in the field of sanitation.
Swachh Bharat Anthem scripted by renowned lyricist Prasoon Joshi was unveiled on the occasion. It was sung by Minister of State for Urban Development Shri Babul Supriyo, Shankar Mahadevan and Prasoon Joshi and were supported by Shri Loy Mendosa and Shri Ehsaan Noorani.
The Anthem with chorus : “Dam Damak Dam Dam Damkega India-Cham Chamak Cham Cham Chamkega India’’ was received with huge applause.
Ahead of the first anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission, about 100 icons from different walks of life, designated as Swachh Bharat Ambassadors were felicitated today. They were presented with mementoes, brass replicas of the famous spectacles of Gandhiji, also the Logo of the Mission.
These include: Shri Akhilesh Yadav, CM of UP, Sachin Tendulkar, Shashi Tharoor, MP, Mridula Sinha, Governor of Goa, kamal Hassan, Sonal Mansingh, Prasoon Joshi (Lyricist), Shankar Mahadevan, Mohammad Kaif and Suresh Raina(Cricketers), Bombayla Devi Laishram (Sportsperson), Anil Ambani, Rakesh Mittar (Bharti Foundation), Naina Lal Kidwai, Aroon Purie (India Today Group) and Ramoji Rao(Eenadu group).
Spiritual icons included : Swami Ramdev, Dr.Pranav Pandya of Gayatri Foundation, Maulana Abdullah Mughesi, President of All India Milli Council, Maulana Mahmood Madani of Jamiat-ulma-I-Hind, Sister Pushpa of Brahma Kumaris, Khempo Jamyang Lekhshey of Sakya Centre, Swami Subhakaranananda of Ramakrishna Mission.
Swachh Bharat Mission was launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on October 2 last year with the objective ending open defecation and ensuring 100% door to door collection, transportation and disposal of municipal solid waste by 2019.
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