By – Vish Viswanathan
“You can take an Indian out of India but you cannot take India out of an Indian “said Rahul Jethi, a key member of the Clean Mission Team at the event held on Sunday 17th April 2016 to launch an important project for TEJPUR, Uttar Pradesh, India. “the Indian diaspora’s role is very important to support Prime Minister Modi’s Clean India mission (Swachh Bharat) and his goal by 2019 there should be sanitation for all “said Rahul Jethi.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Launched the ambitious ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ (Clean India Mission) 2nd October 2014 on the occasion of Mahatama Gandhi’s 145th birth anniversary. The government is aiming to achieve an Open-Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2 October 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, by constructing 12 crore toilets in rural India, at a projected cost of ₹1.96 lakh crore (US$29 billion). The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) emanates from the vision of the Government articulated in the address of The President of India in his address to the Joint Session of Parliament on 9th June 2014: “We must not tolerate the indignity of homes without toilets and public spaces littered with garbage. For ensuring hygiene, waste management and sanitation across the nation, a “Swachh Bharat Mission” will be launched. This will be our tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary to be celebrated in the year 2019”
Following are some important objectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Abhiyan)
- To eradicate the system of open defecation in India.
- To make people aware of healthy sanitation practices by bringing behavioral changes in people.
- To link people with the program of sanitation and public health in order to generate public awareness.
- Creating platform for Indian Diaspora & International Community to improve Sanitation & Cleanliness conditions in Rural India
In Australia the Clean Mission organization was launched during August 2015 under the leadership of Dr. Nihal Agar and a number of dedicated volunteers in the presence of Hon. Birendra Singh, Minister for Rural Development, Sanitation and Drinking water, Government of India. Within a span of six months the Clean Mission team from Australia swung into action, deliberated and determined a focused approach to deliver improvement of sanitation in rural India with projects such as the one for Tejpur, in Uttar Pradesh which was launched in Sydney.
Welcoming the members of the focus group and invited guests Dr. Nihal Agar, Clean Mission said that it was a historic day. “Clean Mission will change the lives of many in villages” said Dr. Agar.
Rahul Jethi elaborated on the big picture objectives behind the Tejpur project and the needs such as
- Over 500,000 children die every year in India. That is 1 out-of every 5 children
- Single largest reason for girls to drop-out of schools
- Creates unsafe environment for women
- 73% or 350,000 children’s lives can be saved by providing proper sanitation & clean water
- 120 million toilets to be built in all the schools and houses
- Indian Diaspora has much to contribute in this mission
Balesh Dhankar, one of the key drivers of Clean Mission said the team was working to:
- Identify a village, identify a right service provider, Identify a right solution
- Collaborate with local community, Awareness & Monitoring
He said in Tejpur, Hathras, UP ,321 out 490 houses don’t have toilets and providing toilets to each of these houses is estimated total Budget of Rupees 90.2 lakh or A$195,650.
The cost of providing one toilet to Tejpur project is $600
Sanjeev Bhakri, another key member of the Clean Mission appealed to community members to generously contribute to the projects such as Tejpur.
Consul General of India Mr. Vanlalvawna and Dr. Nihal Agar launched the Project Tejpur by lighting a lamp. Mr. Vanlalvawna congratulated the Clean Mission organizers and hoped that community members would actively support such projects of importance to Rural India.
Responding to the following query by the Indian Telegraph “How NRI community can assist Tejpur project and Clean Mission in general”, Mr. Balesh Dhankar said
“Indian Diaspora has many ways in which they can join Clean Mission and contribute towards improving sanitation situation in India. A few ways they can join the missions are –
– as Clean Mission Donor – where anyone can donate any amount to the mission. details for donations are available on our website – www.cleanmission.org
– as Clean Mission Village Guardian – by adopting a village of their own choice and being major donor for that village. All Village guardians would be listed on our website, promoted via our other media and acknowledged on project site as well
– as Clean Mission Volunteer – by working with Clean Mission team as volunteer or pro-bono
– as Clean Mission Champion – by sponsoring number of toilets. Currently: $600/toilet. All Champions will be listed on our website & acknowledged on project site as well.
– as Clean Mission Ambassador – by organizing DIY Campaigns such as donating any Important events like Birthdays, Anniversaries etc. or even organizing a fund raiser Home dinner etc. or Any creative idea you come up with. This shall be promoted on website and other media as well”
The Clean Mission Ambassadors Mr. Arjun Mehta and Mr. Jagdish Trivedi said that they were motivated to support this noble project as many children will be saved and it is a great service to humanity.
For any further information Balesh Dhankar can be contacted on 0424 582 990
The Indian Telegraph salutes the efforts of the Clean Mission team and appeals to community members to generously support Project Tejpur.