Mangaluru: The Swachh Bharat campaign, launched by Prime Minister Modi in the year 2014 has turned into a mass movement and several individuals, including celebrities in their own capacity, have undertaken awareness campaigns to educate others about health, hygiene and sanitation practices.
The campaign has inspired many from Dakshina Kannada too and we have seen several such cleanliness campaigns organised by various institutions to spread the word on cleanliness. G Shravan Kumar of Gurupura is one such youth who undertook a cross-country cycle expedition to promote the use of dustbins among people.
Born to Rajendra and Kalavathi, Shravan works as a team leader in an e-commerce company. Having embarked on the mission on May 3 of this year from Delhi he peddled across 18 Indian states – Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Sikkim, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu – and two countries viz Nepal and Bhutan. A total of 3,20,000 villages and 2,200 cities were covered by Shravan in the six-month-long expedition which culminated at Kanyakumari on November 4.
Speaking to Udayavani, Shravan said that the main intent behind the expedition was to compile a report based on people’s requirement and feedback and later to send it over to a peoples’ representative. Shravan lamented the fact that the essence of the cleanliness campaign was lost with few leaders using it to grab publicity by posing for photos with a broomstick in their hands.
Further, he mentioned that rather than taxing people to collect funds for the cleanliness programmes it would have been more apt to fine those littering the surroundings and even adopting a name and shame policy. Making dustbins compulsory in every shop, a public toilet in every 5 km and the inclusion of Swachh Bharath in the syllabus are among other things that he feels will help make the campaign a success.
Speaking about the difficulties he faced while undertaking the trip, “I managed with the whatever help I got from my social media followers and from the free food, stay offered to me by people at the places I visited. When none of this was available I took up work as a dishwasher at restaurants for funds. Throughout the journey, I camped at temples, petrol pumps, dhabas, railway stations, police stations, RSS office for much-needed breaks,” he said.
“I embarked on the journey on my cycle but by the time I reached Lucknow the same had worn out. Mangaluru City North MLA Dr Bharath Shetty who came to know about this, arranged for a new cycle so that I could carry on my tour. Later, owner of ‘Deepak Cycle’ gave me one cycle in Siliguri. Apart from them Naresh Shenoy, RSS, Ramakrishna Mission, Track and Trail Mangalore have helped me throughout the expedition,” said Shravan who is planning to embark on a trip to South East Asia and Sri Lanka in the future and enter his name in Indian book of record. Having successfully completed one campaign he hopes to find sponsors for these trip. Shravan even has plans of undertaking a Mount Everest summit and has completed mountaineering course from Himalayan Institute of mountaineering, Darjeeling.
Asked about his observations, Shravan opined that the Indian villages are far cleaner when compared to the cities and that for him Kerala was the cleanest state while he adjudged Calicut and Chandigarh as the cleanest cities.