Shillong (Meghalaya), Sept 28 : The state has been actively participating in the Swachhata Hi Seva (SHS) campaign, which is being celebrated from 15th September to 2nd October across the country this year under the joint aegis of Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
Different stakeholders in Meghalaya including Government departments, local bodies, Headmen and students have come together to make Swachhata Hi Seva Campaign a success in Meghalaya, a state which takes pride in having the cleanest river in India and even the cleanest village in Asia. Meghalaya’s sustainable culture and lifestyle has always been in harmony with mother earth and the SHS campaign is an extension of the efforts that are evident among the people of Meghalaya to keep their surroundings clean and green.
The Government authorities here in Meghalaya through its different wings have organised around 600 events so far including cleaning drives, awareness programmes and campaigns titled “youth vs Garbage” to motivate the youths to join the fight for a garbage-free India.
In Shillong, the Swachhata Hi Seva campaign was launched on September 16 at the Phan Nonglait Park in the city. This was followed by a march for garbage free India.
Under this initiative, cleaning drives have been organised in different places of Shillong including Polo market, Municipal Parking lot at Mawlonghat, municipal market at Laitumkhrah, Jail Road and Police Bazar .
Wompher Shadap, Capacity building specialist of Programme Management Unit of Swachh Bharat Mission, Urban Affairs said that the events have been organised in 141 wards under 10 urban local bodies in the state..
Expressing happiness that the response of the people to the campaign this year was overwhelming as in Shillong many environment enthusiast groups have come forward for the campaign, Shadap said that they have also come out with the concept of decentralisation of waste management.
East Khasi Hills DC, Smt R M Kurbah while talking about this initiative said that her office is taking care of the programmes in rural areas through the District Rural Development Agency while the Shillong Municipal Board is organising a series of activities including cleaning drives in Shillong.
It was informed that the District Administration has written to different Rangbah Shnongs to carry out cleaning drives in their respective localities as part of the campaign. Apart from the Headmen, Government has also roped in students and cleaning drives are also being carried out in different schools and colleges with active participation of the students.
Government is also initiating Ek Taarikh – Ek Ghanta, Special Program at 10.00AM on Oct 1st on Shramdaan for Swachhata and the administration is working out on to identify localities which can participate in the event; since the day falls on a Sunday and all activities remain shut here on Sundays.
The Theme of SHS-2023 is ‘Garbage Free India’ with focus on visual cleanliness and welfare of Safai Mitras. Like earlier years the spirit of cleanliness activities is voluntarism/shramdaan. The focus of these swachhata drives is on high footfall public places like bus stands, railway stations, cantonment boards, beaches, tourist places, zoos, national parks & sanctuaries, historical monuments, heritage sites, river fronts, ghats, drains and nallahs etc. in both rural & urban areas of State/ UT.
Ms. M Lyttan, Executive Officer of the Shillong Municipal Board while speaking about this campaign said that Jiwat Vaswani who is a prominent businessman and Managing Director of Jiva Hospitality of India Limited is leading the campaign. He is also the brand ambassador of the Shillong Municipal Board.
Stating that they are trying to involve youths in this massive campaign, Ms. Lyttan said that the Board is harping on the participation of citizens to make this campaign a grand success. Asserting that many people have the mindset of keeping everything clean confining to their homes, she added that people throw garbage outside as a result of which the city is already paying a heavy price. “ We have to realize that it is now or never. It is a war,” she said while adding that people’s response to the campaign is very positive.
Stressing that change can happen when people themselves become the agents of change, she said that the activities like cleaning drives would be a continuous process and such efforts would be regularly carried out by the Board.
As environment conservation and preservation is gaining prominence, the NCC NER Directorate organized a Waste to Wonder competition at Shillong as a run up to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
The event was participated by NCC cadets from various states of the Northeast Region and cadets displayed innovative brilliance while making models out of waste to convey a message of a plastic free world and coexistence of all species. Ideas of reuse of waste, recycle of waste, waste segregation, waste reduction, sustainable use of natural resources, environmental innovations, etc were displayed by the NCC cadets.
The cadets were felicitated for their efforts. The winners of the contest NCC Group Shillong were awarded a cash prize of Rs 10000. While the first runners up NCC Group from Dibrugarh was awarded a cash prize of Rs 5000, the second runners up NCC Group Tezpur was awarded a cash prize of Rs 2000.
Earlier, the Shillong Cantonment Board organized a clean-up drive in the Cantonment area. CEO Ayush Mann Maurya of Shillong Cantonment Board said that this cleanliness campaign is being run under the Swachhata hi Seva campaign 2023. The drive was carried out in all the cantonment areas across the country which will run till 2nd October.
Some of the activities that have been proposed for States under the campaign are – removal of garbage from all important places, repair, painting, cleaning and branding of all sanitation assets like litter bins, public toilets, dhabas, waste transport vehicles, MRFs etc. in the area, cleanliness drives of tourist spots, ASI protected monuments along with IEC initiatives to discourage usage of single use plastic items and conducting special programs, cultural events promoting the sanitation journey of the country.