Kicking Swachhta Abhiyan up a Notch, MP Minister Takes to Cleaning Drains and Nullahs in Gwalior
Minister Pradhuman Singh Tomar has repeatedly claimed that he was not doing anything to gain attention as the cleanliness drives were being carried out in areas where they were "actually" needed.
MP's Food and Civil Supplies Minister Pradhuman Singh Tomar cleans a nullah. (News18)
Bhopal: For the last few days, residents of Gwalior and nearby towns have witnessed the national cleanliness campaign being taken to a different level, with a minister of the Kamal Nath-led Cabinet taking up the task of cleaning sewer drains and nullahs.
Images of Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Pradhuman Singh Tomar busy executing the "vastavik safai abhiyan" (actual cleanliness campaign), as he prefers to call the initiative, have been doing the rounds for the last few days and have even appeared in national dailies.
The minister, waist-deep in mud, was on Sunday seen cleaning a stinking nullah with the help of a spade in Birla Nagar New Colony of the city. Although he wore a mask, there were no gloves or protective boots with him.
Tomar had reached the area on a complaint from local women who alleged that water from the drains was gushing into their houses and that civic employees were doing nothing to resolve the issue.
Tomar, instead of summoning any official, started cleaning the drain on his own, claiming that he will not let Gwalior turn into New Delhi.
“Don't consider it a publicity stunt as I am not carrying out the campaigns on roads, but in areas which actually require cleaning,” he told reporters at the spot. Soon after, Municipal Commissioner Sandip Makin suspended three civic officers and expressed regret on behalf of the corporation.
A day earlier, Tomar went to the Gwalior railway station and cleaned the toilets as resentful railway officers, claiming any activity within the premises was their prerogative, looked on.
Over the last few days, Tomar has engaged in several cleaning drives and has promised to keep doing so for a month whenever he is in town.
Last month, Tomar had visited a gas agency in Shivpuri to ensure that an elderly woman received a gas connection at the earliest. Later, when he found garbage strewn on certain stretches due to a strike by sanitation workers, he picked up a broom to clean it up.
Locals who have known Tomar for years have expressed happiness.
An elderly man from Gwalior said Tomar had been an active social worker before becoming a minister — he often took up such cleanliness drives and used to stage protests over power supply issues. At times, Tomar scaled electricity poles to connect or disconnect power on public demand, he added.
Besides inspiring locals over the issue of sanitation, Tomar has also managed to inspire his Cabinet colleague and Transport Minister Govind Singh Rajput, who was seen in the company of locals cleaning roads in his home town Sagar with a broom.
However, the BJP leadership has appeared unimpressed, with local MP Vivek Shejwalkar saying that Tomar should engage in public welfare instead of himself doing the job of sanitation workers.
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