Ideas and Action for a Better India
PM’S APPEAL and OUR ACTION: Mission 2019 to Make India Clean with Toilets for All — Inauguration of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Sanitation, Cleanliness and Community Health in Mumbai
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi devoted more than five minutes of his Independence Day speech today to the theme of sanitation and cleanliness. No prime minister in the past had given so much priority to this important issue, and certainly not in their address to the nation on August 15.
Shri Modi ji specifically appealed to the countrymen to work in a mission-mode manner to make India clean, with the provision of toilets for all, within the next five years. Since Mahatma Gandhi was a spirited champion of sanitation and cleanliness, accomplishing the mission before 2019, the year of his 150th birth anniversary, would be a fitting tribute to him, the Prime Minister said.
Congratulations, Pradhan Mantri ji.
We at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Mumbai and Triratna Prerana Mandal (TPM) are proud and gratified that, within a couple of hours of the PM’s address from Red Fort, we responded to his appeal with concrete action.
We inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Sanitation, Cleanliness and Community Health at a slum in Bombay. This is a joint initiative of Orf Mumbai and TPM, a slum-based NGO in Santacruz (west) which runs one of the cleanest public toilets in the city. Indeed, its work in sanitation has become the nucleus around which several community development activities have been built. (Example: Solid waste management, solar energy, water recycling, women’s self-help group, gymnasium and sports, kindergarten, preparation of food for anganwadi centres, employment-oriented computer classes, etc.)
Our Centre aims at training and developing grassroots leaders who will work on ‘MISSION 2019’ for sanitation and cleanliness, which have a big impact on community health. It will work closely with government agencies and other NGOs for effective implementation of existing schemes and also new schemes that would certainly get launched in the wake of the Prime Minister’s pathbreaking announcement today.
After flag-hoisting, the Centre was inaugurated by Shri Mustafa Shaikh, a highly dedicated sanitation worker at TPM. Bhikshu Anand ji conducted prayers for Lord Buddha and gave his blessings for the Centre.
Some of the important guests who graced the function were Dr. Manu Kothari and Dr Lopa Mehta (eminent Gandhians and professors at KEM Hospital and Seth GS Medical College), Shri Anand Jagtap (officer on special duty with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation), Dr. Kamaxi Bhate (member-secretary, Savitribai Phule Gender Resource Centre), Dr. Shrikala Acharya (Director, Mumbai District AIDS Control Society), Shri Ashok Datar, renowned environmental and public transport activist and Shri Mohan Tambe, one of India’s leading innovators in IT.
Shri Ashish Shelar, MLC and president of the Mumbai unit of the BJP, also visited the Centre and greatly appreciated this new initiative. He expressed confidence that it would become the hub of many sanitation- and cleanliness-related activities in Mumbai and beyond.
Young artists of Panchasheel Kala Pathak enacted a highly educative street play to highlight the importance of cleanliness and sanitation, especially in slum areas.
Many young researchers and activists have worked tirelessly for the opening of this Centre. I must make a special mention of my colleagues Dhaval Desai, Janki Pandya, Dr. Sumedh from ORF Mumbai (who were superbly assisted by Shri P.G. Darji, our manager) and Shri Dayanand Jadhav, Shri Dilip Kadam, Shri Dayanand Mohite and Ms. Priya Jadhav from TPM. Their commitment, enthusiasm and energy are truly laudable.
If you are in Mumbai, or visit Mumbai, do pay a visit to our Centre.