The Indian Railways on Friday said more than 2.14 lakh people participated in 1,934 activities with man hours of 6,62,990 in the first 14 days of the "Swachhata Hi Sewa" (SHS) cleanliness drive.
The fortnight-long campaign was launched on September 15 by the chairperson and CEO of the Railway Board, who administered a cleanliness pledge to all the railway employees at the Rail Bhawan here.
The participants in the campaign are railway employees, passengers and other stakeholders. The campaign aims at fostering a much greener and more eco-friendly railway system.
"Indian Railways, with its extensive nationwide network, plays a vital role in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan," the railway ministry said in a statement.
This year, the railway ministry has become a part of the joint SHS campaign launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Ministry of Jal Shakti.
"Activities of SHS are integrated with day-to-day activities of Swachhata Pakhwada. The theme for Swachhata Hi Sewa campaign 2023 is 'Garbage Free India'. With all such zeal and guidance of Prime Minister, Indian Railways has witnessed a paradigm change in cleanliness level when compared to prior to year 2014," the ministry said.
It added that the "railways is an environment-friendly means of bulk transportation and it has always been in the forefront of promoting clean and green environment. It has taken several initiatives for providing clean environment in and around railway stations and trains, such as bio-toilets on coaches leading to clean tracks, segregation of bio-degradable/non bio-degradable waste, solid waste management, discouraging use of single-use plastic etc."
During the "pakhwada", day-to-day activities like Swachh Samwaad, Swachh Railgaadi, Swachh Station, Swachh Parisar, Swachh Aahar, Swachh Parsadhan etc. are being undertaken every year. This year, according to the ministry, a special focus is being given on the cleanliness of tracks at stations, the approach ways to major stations and elimination of plastic waste from the railway premises.
The Indian Railways has taken up various activities. For example, the SHS logo and banners have been posted on the railways' website and announcements made in trains or at stations for proper disposal of waste.
Besides, "prabhat pheris" have been taken out with the "Swachh Rail, Swachh Bharat" slogan to raise awareness and "nukkad nataks" organised with the help of NGOs, religious bodies and school children at railway stations.
People have been encouraged to desist from open defecation in areas approaching stations, on the tracks, on the yard or depot premises, the ministry said.
"Ministry of Railways has plans to conduct a massive cleanliness drive led by people on 1st October, 2023 at 10:00 AM with the volunteers contributing at least one hour of shramdaan as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi," it added.
Around 20,000 events have been planned for this mega cleanliness drive, the ministry said, adding that celebrities and social media influencers are being invited to contribute in the "shramdaan".
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