By Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI/PURI: The second quarterly review meeting on the Swachh Iconic Places (SIP), an initiative of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission, was held today at Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, in Katra, Jammu and Kashmir. Ten Swachh Iconic Places are already implementing action plans in phase 1.
The meeting was attended by the Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, N.N. Vohra; Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar; Union Minister of State, Dr. Jitendra Singh; Minister of State, J&K, Ajay Nanda; Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Parameswaran Iyer and senior officials from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, States, partnering PSUs and other local bodies.
On this occasion, Narendra Singh Tomar announced ten new Iconic places to be taken under the Phase II of Swachh Iconic Places initiative. These ten new iconic places which are to be brought to a higher standard of swachhta and visitors’ amenities are : 1. Gangotri, 2. Yamunotri. 3. Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain, 4. Char Minar, Hyderabad, 5. Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assissi, Goa, 6. Adi Shankaracharya’s abode Kaladi in Ernakulam, 7. Gomateshwar in Shravanbelgola, 8. Baijnath Dham, Devghar, 9. Gaya Tirth in Bihar and 10. Somnath temple in Gujarat.
The ten Iconic places already in Phase I are: 1. Ajmer Sharif Dargah 2. CST Mumbai 3. Golden Temple, Amritsar 4. Kamakhya Temple, Assam 5. Maikarnika Ghat, Varanasi 6. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai 7. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, Katra, J&K 8. Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri 9. The Taj Mahal, Agra 10. Tirupati Temple, Tirumala.
Tomar highlighted the progress made under Swachh Bharat Mission. He told the meeting that the country has made fast and remarkable progress with sanitation coverage increasing to 64% with 1.92 lakh villages becoming ODF.
J&K Governor, Shri NN Vohra, released the compendium of SIP Action Plans and in his address; he highlighted the achievements of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) and pointed out the crucial need of waste management, especially management as the next step. He said that the state needs special technical support from the SIP initiative.
The State government declared Reasi Open Defecation Free (ODF) block of J&K. Union MoS, Dr. Jitendra Singh and MoS, J&K, Ajay Nanda felicitated District and block officials of Reasi. Dr. Jitendra Singh highlighted the importance of mass awareness and behaviour change for achieving the goal of Swachh Bharat.
Two Water ATMs in Katra town were inaugurated by the Union Minister, Shri Tomar on the occasion. Secretary, MDWS presented the SIP status report of first two quarters and highlighted the key initiatives launched by Phase I sites towards improving the cleanliness, sanitation and accessibility facilities at these sites.
Earlier, Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, Shri NN Vohra reviewed the progress made by SMVDB in the two quarters and the detailed action plan for the ongoing and planned projects under SIP.
The central delegation led by the Secretary, MDWS visited various sanitation infrastructure and facilities on the way and at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Temple Shrine. He also inaugurated a reverse vending machine installed at the shrine. Shri Iyer assured of all the support and resources to the shrine board under SIP.