From historic forts to district parks, J&K’s massive cleanliness drives set a shining example of collective responsibility and commitment to Mahatma Gandhi’s vision
By Ajaz Rashid
In a significant milestone for the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha participated in the ‘Swachhata Hi Seva‘ campaign, symbolizing a Jan-Andolan (people’s movement) aimed at fostering cleanliness and hygiene across the region. The campaign took a citizen-led approach with a special focus on the Dal Lake, a cherished natural resource of the region. Lt. Governor Sinha joined citizens from various walks of life to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi and take part in a one-hour shramdaan (voluntary labor) activity aimed at promoting cleanliness and de-weeding in the Dal Lake. J&K’s Cleanliness Revolution
During the event, Lt. Governor Sinha emphasized the transformative power of cleanliness, stating, “The way we see the surroundings becomes the experience of our life. Cleanliness brings happiness, joy, and prosperity. It is the door to reach closest to God.” He expressed his joy at witnessing the societal ambition for cleanliness and the transformation of once-imaginary dreams of garbage-free cities and villages into a reality.
The Lt. Governor called upon all sections of society to unite and contribute to the vision of a ‘Garbage-Free India.’ He underscored the success of the ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ campaign in J&K, emphasizing its role in creating new livelihood opportunities, generating additional revenues, and enhancing overall quality of life.
One of the major highlights of the event was the declaration of Jammu & Kashmir as an Open Defecation Free (ODF) Plus Model region, covering all 6650 villages spread across 285 blocks in 20 districts. This achievement is a significant step forward as it goes beyond the mere construction and use of toilets, focusing on comprehensive cleanliness measures such as managing greywater and solid waste in every village.
To attain the ODF Plus Model status, villages underwent a rigorous three-stage process: Aspiring, Rising, and Model. It required visual cleanliness, minimal litter, and stagnant water, coupled with robust solid and liquid waste management and awareness activities. The effort involved comprehensive planning, stakeholder engagement, and the creation of sanitation infrastructure, including individual and community-level soak pits and compost pits.
Moreover, initiatives like GOBARdhan, which converts animal dung and kitchen waste into biogas and bio-slurry, were introduced. Door-to-door waste collection was initiated in all panchayats, involving local communities and organizations. Plastic Waste Management Units were established in each block, aimed at proper disposal and recycling of plastic waste.
The Lt. Governor administered the Swachhata Pledge to both officials and citizens, highlighting the transparent and public nature of the cleanliness drive’s progress tracking. Capacity-building programs were conducted across the UT to ensure that the Swachhata mission was embraced professionally and sustainably.
In addition to these achievements, J&K has undertaken various innovative campaigns, including ‘Pink Toilets’ to improve school attendance, initiatives during the Amarnath Yatra, and awareness programs such as plog runs and nukkad nataks.
Recognizing the ongoing challenges in rural sanitation, the appointment of Captain Bana Singh, a Param Var Chakra recipient, as the ambassador for the “War Against Waste” initiative was announced. Furthermore, the introduction of the ‘Swachhata Bulletin’ aims to monitor and share daily updates on Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) activities, fostering community engagement.
Sustainability is now the focus, with plans for continuous infrastructure development, behavior change, community engagement, financial sustainability, technology integration, and more. J&K is committed to not only maintaining its ODF Plus Model status but also ensuring a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future for generations to come.
The ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ campaign in Jammu & Kashmir serves as a remarkable example of the transformative power of collective efforts and community involvement in realizing the dream of a cleaner, more prosperous India.
Massive Cleanliness Drives Sweep across J&K
In a remarkable display of community engagement and commitment to Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of cleanliness and sustainability, a massive cleanliness drive was carried out across various districts in Jammu and Kashmir as part of the “Swachhata Hi Seva” campaign. The campaign, themed “Ek Tareekh, Ek Ghanta, Ek Saath,” aimed to promote cleanliness and community service on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the 154th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation.
Jhajjar Kotli: Swachhata Parv Cleanup
The Directorate of Rural Sanitation, Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Jammu, in collaboration with 91.9 RED FM, organized a cleanliness drive in Jhajjar Kotli as part of the Swachhata Parv- Swachhata Hi Seva campaign. Divisional Commissioner Ramesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner Jammu Sachin Kumar Vaishya, and other officials joined local students, C-DYTE cadets, and volunteers in cleaning the park and water bodies of Jhajjar Kotli. Divisional Commissioner Ramesh Kumar emphasized the need for regular sanitation efforts and suggested conducting monthly cleanliness drives.
Div Com Office Jammu: Cleanliness Drive and Plantation
The Div Com Office Jammu conducted a cleanliness drive as a part of the Swachhata Parv – Swachhata Hi Seva initiative. Divisional Commissioner Ramesh Kumar also inaugurated a plantation drive by planting saplings of trees within the office premises. The cleanliness drive witnessed enthusiastic participation from all the officers and officials of the Div Com office.
Samba: District-Level Mega Cleanliness Drive
A District-level mega cleanliness drive took place at Municipal Park, Bari Brahmna, led by DC Samba Abhishek Sharma. The event garnered active participation from local citizens, students, and various senior officers. Similar cleanliness drives were held at Trindiyan, Ramgarh, and other locations in the district.
Poonch: Historic Fort Cleanup
Deputy Commissioner of Poonch, Yasin M. Choudhary, led an extensive cleanliness drive at the historic Poonch Fort, a 300-year-old structure at the heart of Poonch city. The event was part of the Swachhta Pakhwada campaign and involved district officers, NSS Volunteers, college students, and civil society members. The Deputy Commissioner emphasized the importance of collective responsibility in maintaining cleanliness and hygiene.
Ramban: Massive Cleanliness Drives
District Administration Ramban intensified activities across the district under the week-long program “Sankalp Saptaah” to implement various government schemes and initiatives, including cleanliness and sanitation drives. Deputy Commissioner Ramban Mussarat Islam led a massive cleanliness and sanitation drive in and around the District Administrative Complex, Maitra.
Udhampur: Community Mobilization and Sanitation Drive
The District Administration Udhampur conducted a community mobilization and sanitation drive as part of the Swachhta Hi Sewa campaign. Deputy Commissioner Udhampur Saloni Rai, SSP Dr. Vinod Kumar, ADC Ghan Sham Singh, and others led the campaign and encouraged active participation from PRIs, the general public, and senior district officers.
J&K Sports Council: Promoting Fitness and Cleanliness
The J&K Sports Council pledged its support to the nationwide cleanliness drive, conducting special drives across all sports facilities in the Union Territory. These initiatives received good support from athletes and trainees registered with the sports council.
Kathua: Mega Cleanliness Drive
The District Administration Kathua, led by Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Minhas, orchestrated a mega cleanliness drive as part of the Swachhata Hi Seva Campaign. The event saw enthusiastic participation from all District and Sectoral Officers, local residents, and shop owners, reinforcing the idea that a cleaner Kathua is a shared responsibility.
Doda: Shramdaan and Awareness Programs
The Doda Administration held Swachhta camps and events showcasing the importance of cleanliness across the district as part of the nationwide Swacchta Hi Sewa campaign. Major events included cleaning of Neru Nallah, offices, marketplaces, municipal wards, towns, educational institutions, panchayat ghars, panchayat wards, Anganwadi Centres, and tourist destinations.
Economics & Statistics Directorate: Cleanliness Drive
The Directorate of Economics & Statistics, J&K, undertook a cleanliness drive as part of “Swachhata Hi Seva” in the Directorate complex at Jammu. Officers and officials from the Economics & Statistics cadre participated in the “Shramdaan” for cleanliness campaign.
Reasi: Massive Cleanliness and Sanitation Campaign
The District Administration of Reasi executed a community mobilization and sanitation campaign as part of the Swachhta Hi Sewa initiative, aimed at instilling awareness of cleanliness among the community. The drive was inaugurated by Additional District Development Commissioner Reasi, Jyoti Slathia.
Rajouri: Ek Tareekh Ek Ghanta Ek Sath Cleanliness Drive
Deputy Commissioner Rajouri Vikas Kundal led a cleanliness drive as part of the “Ek Tareekh Ek Ghanta Ek Sath” initiative, encouraging individuals to donate one hour of their time towards community betterment. The event saw enthusiastic participation from various sectors of the community.
Information Department: Promoting Cleanliness
The Department of Information and PR Jammu conducted a massive cleanliness drive to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 154th birth anniversary. Officers and officials of the department participated in the “Shramdaan” for cleanliness campaign.
Cooperative Complex Cleanup
Commissioner Secretary Cooperatives, Yasha Mudgal, joined a gathering of government officers, officials, cooperative society members, and volunteers at the Cooperative Complex, Bantalab, for a cleanliness drive as part of Swachhata Pakhwada – Swachhata Hi Seva 2023. The event aimed to promote cleanliness and community service on Gandhi Jayanti.
Kupwara: District-Wide Cleanup
Under the banner of “Swachhta Hi Seva and Shramdaan for Swachhata,” colorful events and extensive cleanliness drives were organized by government departments, colleges, schools, municipal bodies, and panchayats across Kupwara district. Deputy Commissioner Kupwara Ayushi Sudan took part in several Swachhta events held at different locations.
Ganderbal: Massive Sanitation Drives
A massive sanitation drive was carried out across Ganderbal district with over 4000 locations involved in cleanliness efforts. Participants from all walks of life picked up litter from roads, parks, offices, schools, and public places, promoting a sense of community service and nation-building.
Shopian: Swachhta Pledge and Cleanup
Director Rural Development department Dr. Ravi Shanker Sharma led a cleanliness drive as part of Swachhata Hi Seva campaign at District Panchayat Office Complex, Shopian. The event began with participants taking a Swachhta Pledge and engaging in various cleanliness activities.
These extensive cleanliness drives and community mobilization efforts demonstrate the commitment of Jammu and Kashmir residents to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the vision of a cleaner and more sustainable future. The campaigns serve as a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, whose principles continue to inspire positive change in the country.