New Delhi: As the nation celebrated the National Sports Day and payed a tribute to hockey legend Dhyan Chand on Tuesday by conducting several sports related activities, Karnataka’s Belagavi District gave a swachh twist to the celebrations. The Belagavi District Panchayat in a bid to promote the importance of sports and sanitation conducted a massive cycle rally under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiative. A group of 120 people participated in the 13 kilometre event which covered prominent areas of the district including Channamma Circle, KLE Hospital, Kakati Road, Bauxite Road and Club Road.
Emphasizing on the need to inculcate the spirit of sports and Clean India Mission among the people, CEO Ramachandran of Belagavi District Panchayat says, “Most of the teenagers are hooked onto their gadgets and the concept of playing outdoors is gradually fading away. Hence, we decided to utulise the National Sports Day by organising a cycle rally. In addition, the authorities believed that this would be a very good opportunity to implement government’s cleanliness movement and highlight the conditions of our district. Through the cyclothon, we wanted to underline the irony of India where it has achieved several sports honours internationally and yet it is lagging behind in terms of sanitation. ”
To ensure maximum participation from the locals, the panchayat had planned a 15-day pre-awareness session on the cyclothon. From distributing pamphlets among the residents of Belagavi, giving notices to school and colleges to sending invites to higher authorities, the civic officials covered all sections of the society. As anticipated, local from all arenas – educational institutions, police department, civic authorities and professional cyclists came forward to spread the message of ending open defecation and keeping surroundings clean. The local Health department accompanied the participants providing them with essentials like food and water.
While some participants carried slogans of on swachhta and hygiene, some took halts and personally spoke to the locals on the importance of toilets and improving the existing sanitation levels. Since senior officials like Joint Director of Agriculture and Inspector General of Police took part in the rally, the chances of creating a lasting impacts were high, felt Mr Ramachandran. Post the cycle rally, a small function was organised in the district where the officials lauded the participants for their contribution towards Clean India Mission.
At the function, Mr Ramachandran also reminded the locals of how many people still defecate in open and encouraged them to speed up the process of toilets construction, “So far, of the total target of 2 lakh toilets, only 30,000 have been built. Another 1,70,000 need to be constructed by November as the district aims to declare itself open defecation free on the World Toilet Day which falls on November 19.”