Swachha Bharat Mission and RWAs

Dr. Rao VBJ. Chelikani

We all remember that on 2nd of October, 2014, on Gandhiji’s birthday, both the President of our Republic and the Prime Minister, have launched the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission.’ We have started the most historic and biggest-ever nationwide campaign for making India clean and hygienic.

It is shameful that India has been very much behind many of the developing countries in the world, to which we have started providing aid for their development. Gandhiji considering cleanliness as next only to godliness, had given much importance to it. The prime minister is enlisting the support of various sections of the population. But, it cannot be achieved without the active involvement of the resident welfare associations, which are the stakeholders. Further, we have many more miles to go and many more years to devote our attention.

Since, the Union government has a separate programme for the four thousand municipalities and the corporations in the country and has allotted an amount Rs 64,000 crore for a period of five years, we should ensure that it is well-spent. Even though, in many major municipalities and corporations, the RWAs have been already cooperating with many partners, it is appropriate that the RWAs come out and announce their own commitment to make our own houses and flats, as well as our area environment clean, green, sanitary and hygienic. Thereby, we will become part of a national campaign in order to make it, once for all, cleanliness a normal way of life in our country. Above all, we should create an attitudinal change and help the residents to cultivate clean habits.

Since, we all have been observing the 23rd November as the national RWA Day, let us renew and review our Clean and Green RWAs campaign on that Day. Ours will be the single biggest steak-holder group in the entire national campaign. On that Day, we will highlight 20 good practices that would be carried out for the next five years. On this occasion, we have to invite the local associations of senior citizens to join us in this campaign with their experience and spare time to pursue follow up actions like mobilisation, communications, correspondence and public relations.

RWA Charter for Swatch Bharat

1.In each RWA general body meeting, there should be an item in the agenda to review the good practices adopted on clean habits, personal hygiene, greenery within the house or outside and environmental sanitation;
2.Every resident should commit himself or herself to devote 2 hours in a week to attend to environmental cleanliness, individually or collectively;
3.Appeal to all residents to cultivate the habit of not throwing anything on the floor but only in the dustbin, not to spit, not to urinate everywhere, not to make noises and not to stock unnecessary old things, etc.;
4.Weekly visit by the RWA office-bearers to the buildings, offices, shops, schools, hospitals, religious places, bus-stops, cinema halls, function halls, parking areas, parks, play grounds, vacant sites or lands, tank-bunds or river bodies in the area in and around the RWA in order to remove plastic, electronic waste, construction debris, and other unnecessary materials lying there; and to see that those Agencies which are in charge are helped to discharge their duties thoroughly.
5.Negotiate with the local private sector undertakings to take up some sponsored activities, such as, providing dustbins, picking, removing and cleaning tools, detergents, dresses, gloves, shoes, etc., including providing new long brooms that are safe for the lungs and the backbone of the sweeper, etc.;
6.Sensitise, particularly, the low income areas or slums who are the first victims of pollution to keep their area clean and green;
7.Weekly visit to the open or closed sewerage channels or pipes and the rain or storm water draining canals, so as to alert the municipal staff in case of obstacles to their free flow;
8.Explore the sources of seasonal waves of mosquitoes and plan clearing of weeds or plastic materials from the nearby stagnant waters;
9.Ensure that the tankers or the pipes carrying the drinking water and the sewerage do not have leakages; Periodical testing of the quality of the drinking water at the receiving end;
10.Identifying dry places for placing the dry and wet dust-bins, and if necessary some transit dumping yards, and arrange for their collection, lifting and maintenance on payment;
11.Setting up and maintaining regularly, rain water harvesting pits and re-cycling arrangements;
12.While managing the urban waste, a part of the garbage to be retained within the house, part of it in common pits within the area, part of it to the rag-pickers and the rest to be shifted to the municipal vehicles; and to ensure hygienic dust-bins, lifting and transportation;
13.Discarding, totally, manual disposal of excrements by scavengers;
14.Promoting more knowledge about the effects of chemicals that are being used for various purposes and reduce their wastage, particularly, by the house-wives, domestic helpers and watchmen;
15.Promoting the use of protective devices for legs, hands, fingers, nails, nose, eyes, lungs, etc. by all those who are involved in cleaning inside the house as well as in the surroundings;
16.To ensure clean toilets and provision for other sanitary needs in the neighbouring schools;
17.In cooperation with the urban horticultural officers, to put short and bushy semi-arid plants and trees in all open common places and parks and to ensure its maintenance; in all private places, the compound walls and some walls can be green with creeper species and the apartments can have hanging varieties;
18.Each resident to ensure that in his or her native village, there are private and public toilets in order to avoid open defecation;
19.Individually, to make it a habit to visit internet, social media (mygov.in; clean India website, face book, twitter, etc.) in order to follow the developments;
20.Keep a list of names, telephone, WhatApp numbers of local staff and officers of the municipality who are responsible for execution and for supervision, so as to send them the complaint and the spot photos by smart phone; Also of higher officers who can take, immediate action on our complaints, against the defaulting local staff.

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