New Delhi : Residents of Bhopal were treated to a rare sight – that of groups of Safaimitras (sanitation workers) engaged in a lively game of cricket, being held as part of the Safaimitra Cricket League. This novel initiative marks one of many such events witnessed throughout the day across the country, as India celebrated Gandhi Jayanti as ‘Swachhata Divas’, by felicitating lakhs of Safaimitras and sanitation workers. The Safaimitra Sammaan Amrit Samaroh – being organized over 2 days – 2nd and 3rd October, forms part of a week-long bouquet of activities under Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM). It is being held across States/ Union Territories and Urban Local Bodies. The nation-wide felicitation ceremonies for Safaimitras were an opportunity for a grateful nation to pay tribute to the unsung heroes of the country – the swachhata warriors – whose committed and tireless efforts help keep our cities clean and hygienic, including during pandemic times. More significantly, the ‘Samaroh’ also marked the beginning of the roll-out of the Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban 2.0, which was launched yesterday (1st October 2021) by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, with a vision of creating a ‘Garbage Free’ India.
The felicitation ceremony in every location included presentation of a laminated/ framed “Scroll of Honour” to every Safaimitra, in addition to other marks of respect as decided by each ULB. Following the launch of the SBM-Urban 2.0 yesterday, Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri had appealed to all Chief Ministers to personally take part in the felicitation ceremonies beginning today. This morning at 9 am, Shri Puri was personally present at the Central Park, Connaught Place, New Delhi to felicitate Safai Mitras registered with the New Delhi Municipal Council. Similar events have been reported from across other States and ULBs, alongwith other innovative activities. In Madhya Pradesh, the Chief Minister personally participated in the felicitation ceremony, in ULBs of Jharkhand, football matches were organized among Safamitras. In Rajasthan, Safaimitras were presented with “pagdis” as a mark of respect. In some States like Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh& Karnataka, Safaimitras were also presented with cash awards, while safety kits and uniforms were presented in other States such as Jammu & Kashmir and Haryana.
Till evening today, more than 3.6 lakh Safaimitras have been felicitated around 1150 ULBs across the country. The celebrations are expected to continue with the same vigour and enthusiasm throughout tomorrow.
A major focus under SBM-Urban 2.0 will be on ensuring welfare and improved quality of life for all Safaimitras, as also reflected in the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s address yesterday, when he referred to Safaimitras as “Mahanayaks” and mentioned that “…..Babasaheb Ambedkar believed in urban development as a great means of removing inequality……The next phase of Swachh Bharat Mission ….. is an important step towards fulfilling the dreams of Babasaheb”. This 2-day Samaroh for felicitating Safamitras and acknowledging their yeoman contributions in Urban India’s swachhata journey marks a crucial step in that direction.