VARANASI, November 8 2014:Â Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Clean India campaign segued into the Clean Ganga mission on Saturday morning, when he began work, spade in hand, to clean the river at the Assi Ghat in his constituency Varanasi.
As he did at the start of his Swachh Bharat or Clean India mission, PM Modi tagged nine prominent people, among them Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, to take the task forward.
“When I began the drive, I had nominated nine people. Today, taking that forward, I am nominating Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Chancellor of Chitrakoot Handicapped University Swami Ram Bhadracharya, Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari, writer Manu Sharma, cricketers Mohd Kaif and Suresh Raina, Padma Shri Professor Devi Prasad Dwivedi, television actor and comedian Raju Shrivastava and singer Kailash Kher,” the PM said.
Dressed in kurta-pyjama, Mr Modi, 64, reached the river ghat or bank at 8:40 in the morning, offered prayers and then took up the spade to begin the Ganga clean-up drive.
He said NGOs had assured him that the work he had begun today would be completed in a month.
The Prime Minster has vowed that his government will prioritise cleaning the Ganga, which is full of garbage and sewage and industrial effluent. He has set up a separate ministry headed by Uma Bharati for cleaning the river. On a trip to the US earlier this month, he sought the help of NRIs in doing this.
He launched the Clean India mission on October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.
This is the PM’s first trip to Varanasi since it voted overwhelmingly for him in his first run for Parliament. He reached his Lok Sabha constituency on Friday and adopted a village under a new scheme for lawmakers.
He also laid the foundation stone for a trade facilitation centre for Varanasi’s weavers and exhorted them to use opportunities offered by e-commerce to tap a global market and to modify the industry to do that effectively.