Agra, Oct 1 (IANS): Ahead of Gandhi Jayanti, thousands of volunteers joined a cleanliness drive across Agra on Sunday in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to the citizens to participate in the campaign.
Uttar Pradesh government ministers and officials joined the cleanliness drive at Hathi Ghat. The Agra Municipal Corporation organised several programmes in different parts of the city. The Metro rail workers cleaned up their depot premises.
Volunteers of the River Connect Campaign joined the “swachchta karyakram” at the Etmauddaula view point along the river Yamuna. Social activist Sanjay Chaturvedi said that till our rivers were clean, cities on the banks will never be clean.
“Yamuna river bed needs desilting and dredging upto at least five feet. The whole river bed is lined up with pollutants, polythene, plastic, leather cuttings from shoe factories.”
Eco Club president Pradip Kumar said that both the banks of the Yamuna have to be cleared of encroachments and trees planted in a systematic way.
A large number of students and women activists also joined the cleanliness drive. The Municipal Commissioner Ankit Khandelwal is keen that the number three ranking of Agra in the 100 smart city list, should improve next year.
A Nagar Nigam official said door to door garbage collection campaign had picked up momentum. Bazars were being cleaned up in the night and early morning and water was being sprinkled to ensure the roads remained dust free.
From being described as the dirtiest city of India, Agra was now steadily changing its profile and taking appropriate steps to clean up the mess, lift garbage and process it into rich organic fertilisers.
Rajiv Kumar who runs garbage based fertiliser units said that the whole process has been streamlined and most of the collection was being converted into bio fertilizers for which there was a big demand.
With the start of the tourist season with a long weekend, the influx of tourists had increased bringing cheer to the hospitalist industry. Long queues of vehicles were seen at Shilpgram complex near the eastern gate of the Taj Mahal.
The Divisional Commissioner Ritu Maheshwari has directed concerned departments to ensure high standards of cleanliness, provide adequate safety and basic facilities for the tourists, including ambulances at the monuments.
The image of the tourism industry took a hit a few days ago when a French tourist fell to death in Fatehpur Sikri, and could not be promptly provided ambulance facility.