Prasann Pranjal speaks exclusively to DR BINDESHWAR PATHAK, social reformer and brand ambassador of ‘Swachh Rail Mission’ and founder of Sulabh International
How do you see this responsibility? It is huge. Brand ambassador is similar to an envoy. It makes you realise the severity of the responsibility. We will do our best in achieving the Swachh Bharat dream of Prime Minister. We will carry out the responsibilities Railway Minister has entrusted upon us. We will create a cleanliness model, which will inspire the world. The stations will be so clean that people would think twice before littering. They should think, “Gandagi failayenge to ‘Prabhu Ji’ dekh lenge”(He puns Prabhu to mean both God and railways minister Suresh Prabhu). How challenging it would be to clean the railways? Railways is the lifeline of the country. We have more than eight thousand railway stations across the country. It’s certainly a big challenge to clean and maintain that cleanliness. But we accept this challenge with an open heart. Our team of 50,000 devoted volunteers will do this work whole heartedly. How will you clean the stations? With our volunteers, we will also need the help of local residents in cleaning the railway stations. Our plan is to clean the stations and surroundings with 300-400 school children, local residents and our volunteers with the help of the station master. We want children’s participation to motivate them towards cleanliness while inspiring other people. The children will get certificates for their participation that will help them in the future. When will the cleanliness campaign start? We have already started the campaign with cleaning railway stations. During the Rail Week this September, we were given the responsibility of cleaning five railway stations - Old Delhi, Gwalior, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Gorakhpur, and we are working on them. Now that we are responsible for such a large number of stations, we will work on them in multiple phases, targeting to finish in six months. What is the role of technology in this drive by Sulabh? With the importance of technology in mind, we developed Two-Pit- Pour-Flush toilets five decades ago. We will also consider better techniques for cleaning railway lines. We are working on new techniques for cleanliness. According to you, how much does the mindset of people matter? We can only sustain hygiene and sanitation if people follow it. People need to change their mindset. Cleaning our surroundings is as important as cleaning our own house. We are trying our best to improve the public mindset on such topics. We are working to develop a culture of cleanliness and we are positive that we will achieve the ‘Swachh Bharat, Sundar Bharat’ dream very soon.
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