Nirmal Bharat Yatra from October 3

September 29, 2012 12:00 am | Updated 05:04 am IST - New Delhi:

The ‘Nirmal Bharat Yatra’ to promote the message of making the country open defecation-free and ensuring proper sanitation in rural areas will begin from October 3, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Friday.

Accompanied by actor Vidya Balan, the brand ambassador of the Ministry’s campaign for improving sanitation, Mr. Ramesh said the 2,000-km yatra will rope in people from all sections, including school children, to pass on the message.

“The multi-media campaign will start from October 2 and I am grateful to Vidya Balan for her participation in this. The yatra will begin on October 3 from the Gandhi Ashram located in Sevagram in Wardha [Maharashtra] and end in Bettiah [Bihar] on November 17,” Mr. Ramesh said.

Applauding the efforts of the Ministry, Ms. Balan said, “There is no better way to serve the country. I am fortunate to be a part of this initiative. When I read the statistics, I knew I should not miss this opportunity.”

Beginning from Wardha, the yatra will go through Indore, Kota, Gwalior, Gorakhpur and Bettiah, covering 200 km over a span of 56 days.

Promoted by several NGOs and private companies, the programme will be completed at a cost of over Rs. 12 crore.

Among the prominent NGOs participating in the programme are Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

“I want to acknowledge Indian companies and NGOs who are participating in this. The bandwidth for serious issues is very limited in our country but their effort in this programme will go a long way in creating awareness over this sensitive issue,” Mr. Ramesh said.

Replying to a question on sanitation standards of Indian Railways, he said the Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry will sign an agreement with the Railways Ministry to install bio-digesters in all its future coaches.


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