Paying his respect on the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi held at historic Ridge, Shimla, Governor Bandaru Dattatraya said that there was a need to adopt Gandhiji's humanistic message and ideology in life. He said that we were celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation as 'Swachhata Hi Seva' campaign and also, this day was being celebrated to perform Shramdaan to eradicate plastic waste.Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur in the presence of Governor launched 'Swachhta Hi Seva' programme, the State level 'Shramdaan' programme at The Ridge, Shimla.Shri Dattatraya said that plastic has become a curse for science in the present and poses a grave threat to mankind. He expressed his happiness that Himachal Pradesh was the first state in the country to tackle the threat of Plastic and other Non-biodegradable Waste and implemented Himachal Pradesh Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 1995 & Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Rule, 1996. He said that under this Act, the State Government has taken an important step towards the disposal of non-Biodegradable waste in a scientific manner.The Governor said that the polythene waste collected through various awareness campaigns being run in the state was being used as an alternative in road construction and as fuel in cement kilns, which was helpful in reducing plastic waste from the earth, water and air, besides this, emission of Green House Gases would also be reduced. As a result, the adverse effects of climate change would also be reduced, he added.Shri Dattatraya said that Mahatma Gandhi considered cleanliness equal to devotion and imparted the education of cleanliness to all. He said that with the idea of Clean India, he used to think about keeping all the citizens together and keeping the country clean. He said that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been started as an inspiration from Gandhiji's thoughts, as Mahatma had dreamt before independence of our country to be as clean as other developed Nations. He said that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has taken forward Gandhiji's thinking in the form of a campaign.
Now, plastic-free India has also been included in this campaign and we should actively participate and cooperate, he added.While congratulating the State Government, he said that polythene bags, single-use plastic and thermocol has been banned in the state and people were being encouraged to use dona and plates made of leaves, cloth bags as an alternative to plastic items. He expressed satisfaction that the Buy-back policy implemented by the government would be helpful in raising the standard of living of the waste pickers and congratulated the Chief Minister for adopting this policy. He hoped that the State would remain plastic-free and clean as a result of the cooperation of the people and the efforts of the State Government.Earlier, Governor and Chief Minister also led the State in paying the glowing tributes to Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary by garlanding the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at The Ridge Shimla.Speaking on the occasion of 'Swachhta Hi Seva', Chief Minister said that Clean India would be the best tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October 2014 throughout the country as a national movement with an objective to achieve the vision of a ‘Clean India’ by 2nd October 2019. He exhorted people to realize the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of a clean and hygienic India.Jai Ram Thakur said that people from different sections of the society should come forward and join this mass movement of cleanliness by involving NGOs and local communities to make India clean. He said that frequent cleanliness campaigns to spread awareness about hygiene through plays and music should also be widely carried out across the State to sensitize the people. He urged the students to play a pro-active role in making Himachal Pradesh a plastic-free State. He said that for this, support and cooperation of every section of the society was vital.Chief Minister said that plastic was not only an environment hazard, but it was also health threat for humans as well as animals. He said that the State of Himachal Pradesh has honour of being the second Open Defecation Free State of the country after Sikkim. He said that the State Government has already imposed ban on use of plastic bags and cutlery made of plastic and thermocol.
He said that now the State Government had decided to buy back non recyclable and single used plastic waste including plastic bags in the State from the rag pickers and house hold providing minimum support price of Rs. 75 per kg for its collection and deposit in the collection centers of the urban local bodies. This would go a long way in making the State a plastic free, he added.Jai Ram Thakur also launched dustbin distribution scheme to ECO Clubs of Schools. Governor and Chief Minister also visited Photo Gallery/Exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi put up by Field Outreach Bureau, Government of India, Municipal Corporation and IPR at Padam Dev complex, Shimla. He also honoured the best garbage collector of Shimla Municipal Corporation.Later, the Chief Minister and Governor paid floral tributes to former Prime Minister late Lal Bahadur Shastri at CTO Chowk on his birth anniversary.Earlier, Governor also administered the pledge on Swachhta to the people and students on this occasion.The Governor and Chief Minister also released Standard Operating Procedures manual on Swachh Campus and Jal Shakti Campus and Jal Shakti Gram prepared at the instance of the Higher Education Department in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.Governor and Chief Minister also participated in a cleanliness drive at Ridge.Governor and Chief Minister along with others also visited the famous Indian Coffee House and interacted with the tourists there.Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj while paying floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi said that teachings of Mahatma Gandhi are very important in today's era. He said that Himachal Pradesh has always contributed in successful implementation of every scheme and for the successful execution of various scheme, contribution of every citizen is required.Chief Secretary Dr. Shrikant Baldi said that it becomes duty of each one of us to help in making our environment green and clean. He said that the State Government is taking new initiatives to make the state plastic free.Patriotic songs and bhajans were also chanted on the occasion. Mayor Shimla Municipal Corporation Kusum Sadrate, Deputy Mayor Rakesh, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Sanjay Kundu and other dignitaries were also present on this occasion.