The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, in association with UNICEF, organized an interactive session between Swachh Bharat Champions Collectors across 22 States and Swachh Bharat ambassador, Shri Sachin Tendulkar. The interaction was aimed at celebrating and honoring the efforts and determination of Collectors who have done exemplary work in the field of rural sanitation, and led their districts to achieve an Open Defecation Free status.
Mr Tendulkar was welcomed on the occasion by the Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Parameswaran Iyer, who thanked him for his active role as a Swachh Bharat ambassador in supporting the Mission. The session began with a presentation by several Champions about the work happening in their respective districts. The Champions spoke about empowering women and children through sanitation, and the role of all sections of society in truly making Swachh Bharat a people’s movement. This was followed by an address by Mr Tendulkar and a round of Q&A between Mr Tendulkar and the Champions.
Mr Tendulkar expressed his support for the Swachh Bharat team and congratulated the champions on their achievements and determination for making India Swachh and Open Defecation Free. “I feel like a part of this team”, he said, emphasizing that “You either love your country or you don’t. Even as a common citizen, you can do your bit to keep your country clean by not littering, if you truly love it.” He further added, “If every person in our country gives even 1 hour of their time every year, we can have a billion-plus cleaning hours every year!"
Mr Tendulkar also shared with the Collectors, his experiences of grit, determination and hard work from the cricketing field. Speaking about the World Cup 2011 finals, he said, “When that moment came in 2011, when we walked inside the stadium, I knew that we were steps away from achieving our goal. At that moment, we felt the good wishes of a billion people with us. The same good wishes of the people of our country are with you today, on your path to creating a Swachh Bharat.”