Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dip in the waters of the Sangam and conducted “Charan Vandana” by washing the feet of sanitation workers, as a mark of respect to their efforts in ensuring a clean Kumbh here today.
Speaking at the “Swachh Kumbh, Swachh Aabhaar” event later, Modi described all those who have been involved in ensuring the best of arrangements for the devotees gathering at Prayagraj for the Kumbh as “Karma Yogis.”
In this context, he mentioned the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), the boatmen, the local population and the sanitation workers.
Noting that more than 21 crore people have visited the Kumbh over the last few weeks, he said the sanitation workers have shown that nothing is impossible.
He said they are the most deserving, for all the appreciation that the Kumbh got this year. He said the moments when he offered Charan Vandana to some sanitation workers would always remain etched in his memory.
On the occasion, he also announced a Swachh Seva Samman Kosh, to help the sanitation workers and their families in times of need.
Referring to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, he noted that the scheme for a clean India was making rapid progress. The country was moving towards becoming Open Defecation Free (ODF) before the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, on October 2 this year.
Cleanliness of the River Ganga has also been the subject of much discussion this year and he said he had witnessed it at first-hand today. This was a result of the efforts of Namaami Gange programme and the Union Government, he said.
Drains discharging waste into the river were being blocked and sewage treatment plants were being built. He said that a few days ago, he received the Seoul Peace Prize, which included an amount of about Rs 1.30 crore. He has donated that amount towards the Namaami Gange Mission.
The gifts and mementoes he has received as Prime Minister have also been auctioned and their proceeds have also gone towards this programme, he added.
The Prime Minister had a special word of appreciation for the boatmen (Naviks) involved in Kumbh as well. He also noted that for the first time since independence, pilgrims arriving for Kumbh had a chance to visit the Akshay Vat, connected with the legend of Markandeya Rishi.
He thanked everyone present in the gathering for fulfilling his vision of a Kumbh that was a blend of spirituality, faith and modernity. He also appreciated the role being played by the Uttar Pradesh Police in this regard.
The Prime Minister said the arrangements made for Kumbh this year included the development of vital infrastructure, which will continue to serve the city, even after the Kumbh Mela is over.
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