2014-10-18 05:14:20 UTC
Workers seen picking up garbage from the roadside. Photo: Damini Nath
Deliberate mess created outside Red Fort for his photo-op
Sanitation workers became litterbugs on Thursday when they threw
plastic bottles and crumpled pieces of paper outside the Red Fort so a
Union Minister could get his photo-op while picking up the garbage.
This staged littering and cleanliness drive was organised by the
Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Archaeological Survey of India
(ASI) as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission.
Even as Minister of State (independent charge) for Culture and Tourism
Shripad Naik was speaking at the event, safai karamcharis started
littering the premises by throwing used mineral water bottles and
waste paper on the road, which had earlier been swept clean.
As Mr. Naik wrapped up his speech, the cleaning staff were ordered to
add more garbage as it didn?t look dirty enough. All the while
officials associated with the event oversaw the organised littering.
After he had finished, Mr. Naik was promptly handed over a broom,
which he wielded with aplomb to bring about a sweeping change in the
A casual employee of the ASI said the staff usually cleans the busy
tourist spot thrice a day. ?Today, we cleaned the area at 1 p.m. and
were asked to keep the bottles and paper for the Minister?s visit at 4
p.m.,? said the sanitation worker who couldn?t help but smile at the
The stage-managed littering seemed to work out with the Minister being
mobbed by camerapersons and ordinary visitors, who were curious to see
what the man dressed in a sparkling white kurta was up to. Culture and
Tourism Ministry and ASI officials were unavailable for comment.
Sixteen-year-old Ravinder, who works at a souvenir shop at the fort,
said visitors don?t listen to his appeals to not litter. ?Now, we are
hoping something will change,? said Ravinder, gesturing at the
Minister with a broom in his hand.
German tourists, Johannes and Angela, said the lack of sanitation was
not a problem for them, but they couldn?t imagine living in India.
?For us, it?s not so bad as we are here for a month or two. But, for
Indians it must be quite bad,? said Angela. Johannes added: ?India has
so many nice buildings and such great food, so it should be kept
Meanwhile, at the event a memorandum of understanding was signed
between the Ministry, the ASI and the Oil and Natural Gas Commission
for the maintenance of monuments. Mr. Naik said the ONGC will maintain
and improve visitor facilities at the Taj Mahal to begin with, and
will take on more monuments in the future.
?We should be bringing in corporate houses and industries in our
cleanliness campaign. Since the Ministry?s responsibility is towards
tourist spots, we?re starting with our home, which are monuments,?
said Mr. Naik.
The Narendra Modi Government?s cleanliness mission will be launched on
October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.