Cleanliness is next to Godliness
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he ‘Swachh Bharat, Swachh Vidyalaya’ campaign launched throughout the country is reminiscent of one’s school days when one would constantly be told by teachers and nuns (in a convent school) that ‘Cleanliness is Next to Godliness’.
Through the years this phrase has stood one in good stead and it is surprising and also a relief to hear this refrain all over again, albeit in a different tenor.
Thursday saw the Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani launch the Clean India campaign under ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ programme, where she joined the students and teachers in cleaning the school campus.
Irani, launched the programme at a Kendriya Vidyalaya School here, using broom and shovel to clean the ground. She asked all to become part of the mission and put their best effort for the success of the campaign.
Construction of toilets in schools is an important component of this mission.
Under the ‘Swachh Bharat, Swachh Vidyalaya’ campaign, schools with the highest green rating would be felicitate with a cash prize of Rs one lakh.Municipal corporations across the country are on a cleanliness overdrive to meet the Oct 2 deadline. The government has envisaged Rs 62,000 crore to be spent on the Swachh Bharat programme
Irani tells state governments that construct of toilets in all govt schools should be achieved by July. The campaign aimed at motivating students and making them realise that hygienic way of living was the best way continue till October 31 in the schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) said in a statement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also slated to release a booklet on sanitation on October 2, when he launches the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission, promoting behavioural changes in children.
An important component of the mission is the construction of toilets in schools. The seven states, which account for 80 per cent of the schools without toilets, have been asked to start building toilets from October 2, when the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ would be launched.
The states include Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar and Assam.
The state governments would initiate construction of toilets in 25,000 schools on October 2, under the ‘Sarva Siksha Abhiyan’ and ‘Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan programme, officials in the HRD Ministry said.
States would also be advised to periodically monitor the functionality of toilets and take up repair and maintenance work, they said.
With this massive campaign on a giant roll it is but obvious that ‘water’ will be in great demand. Without it the lakhs and lakhs of toilets that are on the anvil will become not only ‘tombs of horror’ but a ‘monumental disaster’.
At the moment the focus appears to be on the catch phrase ‘Catch them Young’ … but what about the adults? Those who go to offices, storm the trains and bus stations, man the bazaars and market places, crowd the hospitals and in equal number the roadside stall and ‘ melas’? How friendly are these environs and how inspiring are they for the young to emulate and model their behaviours after what they see.
The festive season is round the corner ..Durga Puja, Diwali, Chritsmas and the New Year. These occasions will certainly test the memory and inclination of a 1.2 billion populated who will need to be constantly bambooed and reminded to keep their space clean.
As the Clean India campaign gets off to a start the government must also ensure that infrastructure is in place for the public to follow these rules. The sight of overflowing dustbins, broken footpaths, streets without lighting, toilets without water everywhere are base line targets that must come under this much delayed and much in need clean campaign.
If it works BJP will literally stand true to its tarnished ‘India Shining’