Colourful festivals and yatras, including the famous Meenakshi Kalyanam festival in Madurai in Tamil Nadu and Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir where people from far-off places take part will soon become platforms for the Centre’s campaign to make India clean by 2019.
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has evolved a new campaign strategy to create awareness on ‘Swachh Bharat and safe drinking water’ by making use of festivities like Kumbh Melas in which lakhs of people gather every year in one place at one point in time.
Besides the Amarnath Yatra, Kumbh Melas and Meenakshi Kalyanam, Odisha’s famous Puri Rath Yatra, Maharashtra’s Pandharpur Palkhi Yatra, Bihar’s Sonepur Livestock fair and Nada Devi Rajat Jat (Uttarakhand) are some selected famous festivals, fairs and yatras recommended by the Ministry to initially launch the campaign.
According to a circular issued to the states, the Centre has said Sonebhadra Mela in Uttar Pradesh, Ganga Sager Mela (West Bengal), Mela Hemis Gompa (Leh) and Rajasthan’s famous Nagaur fair and Pushkar fair could also be targeted for spreading awareness among masses.
Funds for the campaign will be given from Information Education and communications (IEC) funds of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and from the support fund of the National Rural Drinking Water Programme, it said.
"As you are aware India is a country of colour, festivities and happiness. In our tradition we have been celebrating different festivals, yatras as a devotion to the God and also been organising yatras and fairs in large scale.
"…Such places are good places to launch awareness campaigns and putting stalls and organizing different awareness activities," says the circular issued by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to various states.
Launching the Mission Swachh Bharat on October 2 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said world-class levels of hygiene and cleanliness are required in India’s top tourist destinations to bring about a paradigm shift in the country’s global perception.
Mission Swachh Bharat is launched to create a Clean India of Mahatma Gandhi’s dreams by his 150th birth anniversary in 2019.