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Dr Harsh Vardhan leads cleanliness drive in Turkman Gate area

New Delhi, Oct 06 : Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, today led a cleanliness drive in the historic Turkman Gate area of the walled city of Old Delhi. He was accompanied by civic officials, community leaders and party workers. The drive enthused traders and residents of the area to join.

The Minister said, “I thought that the auspicious day of Bakri Eid should be the most appropriate day of launching a social movement centred around sanitation and health. The egalitarian principles associated with this day should be celebrated by people brushing aside social position to pick up the broom and implement the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Swachh Bharat’.”

Large crowds followed Dr Harsh Vardhan as he walked around the lanes of the walled city. Starting from Turkman Gate, he went to Haj Manzil, Phatak Teliyan, Shankar Gali, Chaurasi Ghanta, Sitaram Bazar, Kucha Maidass, Lal Darwaza, Gali Sheesh Mahal and Hauz Kuazi.

At some of these places he commented on the rubbish heaps and personally picked up a lot of litter with his bare hands. He inspected the public toilets and directed the Commissioner of North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Mr P.K. Gupta, and his civic engineers to ensure that five of them in the neighbourhood which were in a dilapidated state be repaired immediately and given a facelift. He also directed them to build a few more toilets as the present number is not sufficient.

Dr Harsh Vardhan remarked, “I have got detected good public response in the walled city to the Prime Minister’s call for cleanliness. The people here are tired of living in the midst of decay and apathy. Over the past two days I have visited many parts of Old Delhi and motivated the people to come forward and become partners of the civic authorities in keeping their neighbourhoods clean. They are very favourable to the idea.”

Interestingly, the Minister was himself born and raised in Phatak Teliyan. His presence among his former neighbours generated enthusiastic response. Many people told him of their problems with water scarcity and sewer blockage. The Minister directed the civic officials and engineers present to redress the complaints expeditiously.

Community leaders like Mr Mohammad Soalin, Mr Mohammad Sabrin, Mr Ehsan Qureshi, Mr Mohammad Alimuddin and Mr Mohammad Karimuddin joined him in his round of the area. Mr Satpal Bhatia, BJP district president, and Mr Satish Gupta, BJP mandal president, were also present.

Dr Harsh Vardhan also directed the corporation officials to renovate thoroughly and add a new floor to the “Samuday Bhawan” (community hall) in Phatak Teliyan. Presently it is a single-storey structure in need of repairs. He also asked the authorities to ensure that the archways of Phatak Teliyan and Turkmen Gate be maintained in a manner befitting their heritage status in consultation with Archaeological Survey of India. The aesthetics of the sites should also be improved.

The Minister spoke highly of the public spirit of the people of Old Delhi. “Two days back the traders of Fatehpuri launched their own initiative to clean up the markets of the walled city by imposing a code of conduct which included disciplinary measures against those who failed to clean up the streets. They did not wait for the civic authorities. This is indeed a model before the rest of the country.”

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