Press Trust of india

PM suggests ‘naming’ cities ignoring cleanliness campaign to nudge them to work

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Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday mooted the idea of publicising a list of cities where a blind eye has been turned to the cleanliness campaign so as to build public pressure on the authorities there to work.

Inaugurating the All India Mayors’ Conference in Varanasi via video conferencing, he also suggested that cities with rivers celebrate “river festival” (Nadi Utsav) to spread the glory of rivers so that people take pride in them and keep them clean.

The prime minister said in several cities, rivers get ruined in due course, “at times reduced just to a dirty drain or a rainy season river”.

“We have to adopt a sensitive approach towards rivers,” he told the conference on the theme of ‘New Urban India’.

As many as 120 mayors from across the country are participating in the conference. The prime minister exhorted them to build their political career using the opportunity they have got the serve the people.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the mayor of Ahmedabad city during the colonial era when it was a ‘Nagar Palika’, the PM told them. “Sardar sahab started his journey from there, and today, the nation remembers him.”

Stressing on cleanliness, he asked Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri to not only give awards to the city excelling in cleanliness but also recognise those making earnest efforts towards cleanliness.

“Also prepare a list of cities that have kept their eyes closed as if they have nothing to do. We should come out with a list, and publicise them. After this, there will be so much pressure from the public that everybody will want to work,” he said.

“All the mayors should resolve that in the coming competition, their city does not lag behind.”

The prime minister stressed the cleanness drive should not be a once-in-a-year affair and proposed hosting a monthly inter-ward contest on beautification to nudge them to work continuously for cleanliness.

“Like cleanliness, beautification is also important. Can we organise a beautification contest so as to find the most beautiful ward. The parameters can be cleanliness, beautification initiatives, how the walls have been painted, boards of shops and the signboards,” Modi said.

Referring to the ongoing Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Modi said rangoli contests related to freedom movement can be organised till January 26. He also asked the mayors to run programmes such as freedom struggle themed ‘rangoli’ competitions, songs competition on freedom struggle and lullaby (lori) competition.

He also suggested that the mayors should find out and celebrate the foundation day of cities. He told them to get in touch with NCC units of the city and create groups to clean statues and organise speeches on the personalities in the spirit of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.

Similarly, mayors can identify a place in their city and create a monument in sync with the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav through PPP mode, he said.

On celebrating rivers, he said taking good care of these water bodies becomes essential as the world debates water crisis, global warming and climate change. “Can we organise a week-long Nadi Utsav, and make the entire city a part of it.”

As part of the utsav, he said, rivers could be cleaned and Kavi sammelans organised on the banks. “Rivers should be brought back to the centre of city’s life. This will bring a new life to your cities and enthusiasm.”

Talking about his recent visit here, he said, “Recently, when I was in Kashi, I had said that the development of Kashi, can be a roadmap for the development of the entire country.”

He told the mayors to revitalise the campaign to eliminate single-use plastic and also look into ways to create wealth from waste. Modi welcomed them as the host in the capacity of being a Lok Sabha member from Varanasi.

He also suggested the mayors to keep small businesses and MSMEs in focus while carrying out development activities.

In that regard, he told them about the “PM SVANidhi Yojana” and asked them to make a list of vendors and teach them how to use mobile phones for transactions.

“Vendors are a big force as far as micro-economy is concerned. But, they have been neglected the most. Coronavirus made us realise how precious (‘bahumulya’) are these people who helped us, and also made us realise their power,” Modi said.

He also urged them to promote the use of public transport and also ensure that LED lights are used at homes and in street lights.

Referring to the Uttar Pradesh government’s ‘One District One Product’ programme, Modi asked the mayors to build a unique identity for their cities based on their signature product or place.

He asked the mayors to see that every facility in their city is friendly as per Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan- Accessible India Campaign and also friendly to especially-abled people.

Modi also requested the mayors to give suggestions from their experiences for the development of Kashi. “I will be grateful for your suggestions and I will be your first student”, he said.

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