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Swachh Bharat: India Inc pledges support

India Inc on Thursday pledged its support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Mission, which aims to create a cleaner India by 2019.

PepsiCo India chairman and chief executive officer D Shivakumar said a cleaner India will lead to multi-level improvement in the country’s health and wellness. “But for this big goal to be a reality, we need an attitudinal shift to change deep rooted habits and cleanliness practices,” he pointed out.

While launching the Swachh Bharat Mission on Thursday, Modi exhorted every Indian citizen to dedicate 100 hours a year or about two hours a week for voluntary cleanliness work. The government itself will spend over Rs 62,000 crore on the programme, which seeks to eliminate open defecation, building and maintaining quality toilets, eradication of manual scavenging, municipal solid waste management and, most importantly, bringing about an attitudinal shift in people.

Large corporates such as Dabur, Unitech, L&T, Bharti Enterprises, Tata Consultancy Services and PSU’s such as Indian Oil, GAIL and NTPC have already started drawing up plans to clean up their surroundings, build toilets and support the mission.

“All corporate houses need to come forward and support this movement. But it needs to be a sustained effort…it should not be an October 2 phenomenon,” said Sunil Duggal, chief executive officer of Dabur, which is looking at multiple opportunities to be part of this movement.

Dabur has rolled out a ‘Swachch Toilet, Swachch Bharat Abhiyan’ to provide germ-free public toilets across the country. The company has announced that it will contribute 1 from the sale of every pack of its SaniFresh toilet cleaner towards building toilets in the country. Sanjiv Goenka, chairman, RP-Sanjiv Goenka group said that corporate India should come forth and support the programme fully.

Real estate developer Unitech plans to involve residents and other stakeholders in its real estate projects across the country in a drive to clean up areas around them. “This was long overdue. A mass movement is required. Cleanliness is not just about money but also about inculcating civic sense,” said Ajay Chandra, managing director at Unitech.

This was long overdue. A mass movement is required. Cleanliness is not just about money but also about inculcating civic sense

Ajay Chandra, managing director at Unitech

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has announced plans to provide sanitation facilities in schools as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission. CII said it will mobilise construction of 10,000 toilets through CSR by 2015-16. “CII will work with industry and the government to make Swachh Bharat a reality,” said Sumit Mazumder, president-designate of CII and CMD of TIL.

Some PSU and hotel firms, too, have pledged to build toilets. Oil and coal PSUs will together build one lakh toilets in schools across the country in a year. Coal India will build 400 toilets while NTPC will build 240.

Gail Chairman BC Tripathi said the PSU is committed to improve hygienic sanitation facilities for girls at schools as a responsible corporate citizen of the country. “The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan will leave a positive impact on public health in the long run. Accordingly, we have undertaken the drive to construct 1,021 toilets across India. Separate toilet facilities for girls in schools would also help in arresting dropouts drastically and will consequently help increase female literacy,” he said.

L&T said it will build 5,000 toilets while Bharti Foundation has pledged Rs 100 crore to build toilets in Ludhiana. TCS had also pledged 100 crore for building sanitation facilities for girls in 10,000 schools. Vedanta group said it will build 10,000 toilets in addition to the 30,000 it is already building in a partnership with Rajasthan government.

Global hotel chain Carlson Rezidor, which runs brands like Radisson and Park Inn hotels in India, will build toilets in the Delhi-NCR area for girls in schools. “This is our way of giving back to the community and is in line with the Swachh Bharat campaign announced by the PM. According to us, the cleaning process should never end,” said Raj Rana, chief executive officer for South Asia at Carlson Rezidor.

Several companies have already started using the social media space to spread the message of a clean India. “Dear literate Indian, stop littering India. Use dustbins, join the Clean India Campaign,” said a Facebook post by DLF Promenade in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area. “We are tying up with schools and roping in children to spread awareness and influence the shoppers’ mind when they come to the malls,” said Neha Lidder, who handles marketing for DLF Malls in Vasant Kunj.

Responding to Modi’s call to dedicate time to cleanliness, employees of Lemon Tree Hotels pledged for a ‘Swachh Bharat, Swasthya Bharat’ across the company’s hotels. Each of them will invest 100 hours a year to clean areas surrounding the hotel properties in the country.

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