Chandigarh: Pradeep Sangwan, who is on a mission to clear the Himalayas of the waste left behind by tourists, said he had almost given up his initiative but a mention from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his “Mann ki Baat” programme gave a renewed impetus to his efforts. Mr Sangwan, who established the Healing Himalayas Foundation for the purpose nearly seven years ago, told PTI on Sunday (April 30) that the prime minister mentioning his campaign during his past radio broadcast boosted his campaign.
The Haryana native interacted with Modi during the 100th episode of the programme, broadcast on Sunday.
On the 100th episode of the broadcast, PM Modi spoke with some of those who have found mention on previous editions of “Mann ki Baat”. During Sunday’s episode, he also spoke to Sunil Jaglan, another Haryana native and the man behind the ‘Selfie with Daughter’ initiative.
Connecting with Mr Sangwan, PM Modi, while referring to an earlier episode, said,
We had discussed about the ‘Healing Himalayas’ campaign.
PM Modi told Mr Sangwan,
You thought of healing the Himalayas and you ran a campaign. How is your campaign (going) nowadays?
Mr Sangwan told the prime minister that they began on a nervous note and at one time he was not sure if he would be able to sustain this life long as few people were taking an interest in the campaign and not giving much importance to the initiative.
He had almost thought of giving up at one stage, Mr Sangwan told the prime minister.
However, after the prime minister mentioned the initiative during a “Mann ki Baat” episode in 2020, things changed as several people joined the campaign, Mr Sangwan told PM Modi.
PM Modi told him that he was performing a noble duty in the peaks of the Himalayas in the true sense.
And I firmly believe that hearing your name, people remember how you are associated with the cleanliness campaign of the mountains, said PM Modi, and added that several mountaineers are posting photos connected with “swachhta” (cleanliness).
“This is good, due to efforts put in by my friends like you, the notion of ‘waste is also a wealth’ is percolating into the minds of the people and the environment is also being protected,” said the prime minister.
Mr Sangwan told PM Modi, “It (the campaign) is doing fine and from 2020, whatever work we used to do in a span of five years is being done in a year now,” to which the prime minister exclaimed “Wow!” Mr Sangwan said that earlier they used to conduct six to 10 cleaning drives in a year “but today, we collect five tonnes of garbage on a daily basis from different locations”.
He further said that after the prime minister mentioned the campaign in his earlier “Mann ki Baat” address, things began to speed up in a manner he had never thought.
Mr Sangwan told PM Modi,
I am really thankful that how you find out about people like us, you get stories of people like us from remote areas in the Himalayas and working at such altitude and you got our story and brought our work before the world.
“So, it was an emotional moment for me then, and now, too, that I am able to talk to the country’s ‘pradhan sevak’…,” said Mr Sangwan.
During a previous interaction with PTI, Mr Sangwan had said he came in contact with some students from Himachal Pradesh while doing his graduation from Chandigarh’s DAV College and he started to explore the state with them in 2007-08.
After moving to Himachal Pradesh in 2009, he undertook extensive travel and during that he met a group of people from the “gaddi (shepherd)” community in Lahaul. He was impressed how, even in a very remote area, they cared so much for their environment.
His foundation set up its first waste collection and sorting unit three years ago in Rakcham near Chitkul of Kullu district, followed by four other facilities in Mansari (Kullu), Pooh (Kinnaur), Tabo (Spiti) and Narkanda (Shimla).
Mr Sangwan had said his foundation is working with the Department of Environment, Science and Technology, Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board and the state’s Forest department to set up a plant.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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