- I started to visit the dirty drains: Ms Bedi on her work as LG, Puducherry
- I valued my sanitation staff and got them medical health cards: Ms Bedi
- ‘If you are not clean, you won’t be healthy resulting in reduced incom
New Delhi: Former Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, Kiran Bedi believes it is in one’s self-interest to stay clean. NDTV spoke to Kiran Bedi, a Former IPS, during the 12-hour Swasth Bharat, Sampann Bharat Telethon. She said, “Cleanliness and health are two sides of the same coin. If you are clean, you will be healthy and that will lead to more work and earnings. But if you are not clean or hygienic, you won’t be healthy and that will result in reduced household income. In fact, your money will be spent on your treatment and healthcare. Only if you will stay clean and healthy, Lakshmi, known as the goddess of wealth and purity, will come to your house. Therefore be selfish and stay clean and healthy.”
The NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign has been working towards a clean and healthy India for over seven years now. The Banega Swasth India campaign believes that only a clean India can be a healthy India. In its eighth season, the campaign focuses on leaving no one behind because it’s ‘One Health, One Planet and One Future’. This essentially means that human health is intricately connected with the health of the environment and only when health is ensured for all, can a country be prosperous.
Talking about her time as Lieutenant Governor, Ms Bedi highlighted the various initiatives she undertook to ensure cleanliness and hygiene in Puducherry. From promoting hand hygiene in rural areas through self-help groups to organising clean-up drives in and around office areas, and even during her morning walks, Ms Bedi tried to pass on the message of cleanliness to all. Ms Bedi said,
The first step I took as the Lieutenant Governor in Puducherry was to give a clear message that dirty Puducherry is not acceptable. Puducherry is a hub, a destination for tourists, and the first duty we owe to the people of the country visiting us is to provide a clean and healthy Puducherry. So, once that message was gone and reiterated, then I took concrete steps. It was not just saying it, it was now doing it. So, from the second day of my Lieutenant Governorship, I started to visit the dirty drains. The Grand Canal is one of the iconic; historic Grand Canal goes through the white town or the city. I started to visit it and ensure that the municipal staff does its homework daily.
Sanitation workers are the backbone of any city when it comes to ensuring cleanliness and hygiene in public areas. To ensure this backbone is strong and healthy, Ms Bedi said she got them medical health cards, health check-up, and ensured they get their breakfast in the morning. She said,
Most of these women would leave homes at 5 in the morning to clean-up. So, I made sure the nearby market association served them a cup of tea and breakfast. So, I started to value my municipal staff. Then I was heavy on the people who were dirtying the city. People would throw their garbage in the drains.
Ms Bedi is of the opinion that it’s the people who litter, who later complain about the government’s incompetency. Essentially, it is the responsibility of the citizens to ensure their surroundings are spic and span.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.