Nita Ambani, Chairperson of Reliance Foundation and wife of industrialist, Mukesh Ambani, is among the many leading personalities from Maharashtra who were named Goodwill Ambassadors of the Swachhata Abhiyan in the state. Other names include Bollywood actor, Abhishek Bachchan; playback singer, Sunidhi Chauhan; and Marathi film star, Makrand Anaspure.Director of Aditya Birla Group, Rajshree Birla; shooter, Anjali Bhagwat; and great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Tushar Gandhiare also included on this list.
The Launch of Swachhata Abhiyan in Maharashtra
The announcement was made by Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao just after the launch of this initiative in the Raj Bhavan and the Mantralaya on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, made an official announcement on his Twitter account.
The Governor said, “I am sure their involvement with the campaign will inspire many people to work for cleanliness in the society. We have to turn this campaign into a mass movement.” He stressed upon the need to sustain the enthusiasm of the movement for cleanliness. “Lot needs to be done, both in Mumbai and Maharashtra to emerge as the cleanest state in the country. Maharashtra has made pioneering efforts in cleanliness campaign in the form of Sant Gadgebaba Abhiyan. We have to give a major impetus to the campaign under the leadership of the Prime Minister,” he added.
Rao believes that the focus should be on public places such as hospitals, offices, marketplaces and railway stations. In addition to requesting the Chief Secretary and the Mumbai Municipal Commissioner to make the campaign participatory and visible, his own involvement was announced in the form of a visit to the JJ Hospital scheduled on October 18th as a part of a cleanliness drive.
Rao further added, “I have asked them to involve citizen groups, NGOs in all districts and housing societies in cities in the campaign. I have told them to identify selected public places which need urgent cleaning and lead the effort from the front.”
Nationwide Acceptance of the Initiative
Wielding the broom, on October 2nd 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the country’s largest ever cleanliness drive. Other states,too, have responded rather favorably to the initiative and have participated with much enthusiasm.
In Madhya Pradesh, for instance, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan launched the campaign by also wielding a broom in Bhopal. He urged the citizens to devote at least 2 hours each week towards cleanliness. Furthermore, local MP and Union Minister of Water Resource, Uma Bharti, pledged that she would devote 300 hours a year towards the mission.
In Uttar Pradesh, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, made a similar plea to the public. He said, “We will make India clean by 2019. When the country is clean then only it is healthy. In 2014, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, we take a pledge to dedicate a ‘Swachh Bharat’ (clean India) at the feet of Bapu.”
The enthusiasm towards this drive was felt far and wide = from Kerala to Jammu & Kashmir and from Mizoram to Rajasthan.