MOT envisages a ‘Swachh’ India

Lack of cleanliness is a major deterrent for foreign tourists coming into India. With renewed optimism, the Ministry of Tourism has taken the initiative for a clean India, making sure the country sheds this image.

NIKHIL ANAND

Cleanliness and hygiene have always been major deterrents for foreign tourists coming into India. In lieu of the ‘Swachhta hi Sewa’ (Cleanliness is service) campaign initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Ministry of Tourism organised a nationwide campaign called ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’ from September 16 to October 2, 2017. Under this campaign, MOT organised cleanliness drives at various tourist and pilgrimage destinations across the country through its India Tourism of- fices. All educational institutes under the Ministry of Tourism adopted at least one tourist place to maintain cleanliness in a sustainable way.

K.J. Alphons, Minister of State (IC) for Tourism led from the front in this initiative by cleaning various sites to send out a more resonant message to the entire nation. Speaking about the need for this initiative, he expressed, “The holiest thing any Indian can do is to keep their neighbourhood clean for themselves and help present India in a better light to the world. This is the message we are trying to advocate which requires an effort on a daily basis by not only the government but each and every person.”

The Minister volunteered for various cleanliness activities at India Gate on September 17, at Janpath market on the World Tourism Day (September 27) and at Smith Village, Shillong, Meghalaya on September 30. Officers of the Ministry of Tourism as well as students from the Institutes of Hotel Management (IHM) were also present. The minister interacted with the visitors as well as shopkeepers and urged everyone to contribute to make the country clean and welcoming for tourists. He also administered a ‘Swachhta’ pledge to all participants at these places. Apart from major cleanup activities across India, the campaign also witnessed pledge swearing, awareness activities, essay competition, street theatre and the release of a film on ‘Swachhta’, to instil cleanliness in the public. The campaign had been organised at more than 80 places all over the country during the period which was kick-started at Mumbai’s Juhu beach on September 15.

The cleanliness drive also laid foundation for the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project whereby the tourism industry will help make monuments and surrounding areas more tourist habitable. The Minister informed that MOT, in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India, envisages developing heritage sites and making them tourist friendly to enhance their cultural importance, in a planned and phased manner. The project focuses on providing basic amenities such as cleanliness, public conveniences, drinking water, ease of access for tourists, signage, etc. and advanced amenities like cafeterias, surveillance system, tourist facilitation centre, illumination in and around the monuments.

The holiest thing any Indian can do is to keep their neighbourhood clean for themselves and help present India in a better light to the world- K.J. Alphons Minister of State (IC) for Tourism

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