Cleanliness is next to godliness. It depicts order and harmony. Mahatma Gandhi once famously said, “A lavatory must be as clean as a drawing-room”. As a tribute to the father of nation, and to accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation, the honourable Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October, 2014. In 2019, the nation is going to celebrate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and this mission led by the Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) with two Sub-Missions, the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), aims to achieve Swachh Bharat by then as a fitting tribute to the great human being.
In line, with the Prime Minister’s vision, in Assam too, government has undertaken activities such as holding cleanliness drives in and around government offices and schools, awareness marches, Swachh Bharat Pledge etc. Under this mission, the government is trying to improve the levels of cleanliness in rural areas through Solid and Liquid Waste Management activities and making Gram Panchayats Open Defecation Free (ODF), clean and sanitised.
Welcoming the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the former Chief Minister of Assam, Mr. Tarun Gogoi said that he had full support for this cause and soon started the campaign in all educational institutions, government offices and public institutions in phases. He also initiated the campaign in Assam by taking the broom along with his ministers, MLAs and Senior Government officials. He took a broom and launched a ‘Clean Assam’ campaign in Guwahati. His announcement that Government would constitute a Green Brigade and permanent committees to keep the localities neat and clean and awards will be given to the cleanest locality has raised hope among the citizens of the state.
Following his footsteps the present Chief Minister of the state Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal also administered the pledge of Swachh Bharat to officers and staff of Assam Secretariat.
Toilets have been constructed in various places of Assam. Over fourteen thousand individual household toilets have been constructed in Morigaon district alone under the Swachh Bharat Mission. The Deputy Commissioner has reportedly said that another 14,000 toilets will be constructed for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families next year and added that the district administration will also reward the public institutes for maintaining high standards of cleanliness. This initiative comes as a boon for those families who earlier had to go for open defecation due to lack of toilets. Apart from these, six community toilets have also been constructed at public places.
Along with the government many well-known industrialist and celebrities have joined the campaign and they have also picked up a broom to clean their respective localities.
Oil India Limited has undertaken the implementation of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan of the Government of India, in full fervour and zeal, through a number of activities and projects. Walkathons under this initiative of Oil India Limited, on the occasion of the Company’s 56th Foundation Day celebrations on 18th February, 2015 were carried out. As part of the Swachh Vidyalaya programme under Swachh Bharat, OIL has taken up the project of construction of toilets in over 600 government schools in the OIL operational districts of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia in Assam. Sri S.K. Srivastava, laid the foundation stone in the Senairam High school, in the Tinsukia district. Similarly, senior officials of the company laid the foundation stone in several schools in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Assam. In addition, the company has formulated a five year plan on the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan under its Corporate Social Responsibility. Amongst others, the plan includes awareness generation on sanitation in schools, supplementing the waste/garbage management systems of villages and towns, providing dustbins for garbage collection in OIL operational districts, etc. Additionally, the company has planned construction of separate toilets/bathrooms for men and women in villages in operational areas in the state of Rajasthan, which presently do not have such sanitation facilities.
Another campaign on cleanliness was launched at the NEDFi Head by cleaning the office premises and surroundings and then by pledging the ‘Swachh Sapath’ to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The Tinsukia Branch Office of NEDFi carried out the Swachh Bharat Mission.
It is a massive project to clean the entire nation and it is the responsibility of every citizen to take part in this campaign. Government alone cannot achieve the goal of keeping the state clean and it is the responsibility of every citizen to help the Government in achieving the results. We all must make come forward for the cause of making our country a better as well as healthier place to live. Similar drives were started in the country before also, and especially in Guwahati it took place some two years back but it did not work. However, we can hope that this time the campaign works and this drive will be a continuous process.