Shillong, October 02: The Government of Meghalaya on Monday celebrated the 9th Anniversary of Swachhata Divas with fervor, showcasing a dedicated effort towards cleanliness and beautification. The event, held at Motphran, featured a significant Cleaning Drive and the launch of the Beautification of Public Buildings initiative, highlighting the community’s commitment to improving aesthetics and hygiene. Furthermore, a special ceremony at the State Convention Centre paid tribute to sanitation workers, recognizing their invaluable contribution to the cause of cleanliness and sanitation.

Among esteemed dignitaries who graced the occasion with their presence, were, Ethelbert Kharmalki, I.A.S., Director, Urban Affairs; Dr. Vijay Kumar D, IAS, Commissioner & Secretary, Urban Affairs Department; E Kharumnuid, Mission Director, Swachh Bharat Mission, Meghalaya amidst others.

Expressing concern on the challenges faced in keeping the city clean, Ethelbert Kharmalki, I.A.S., Director, Urban Affairs said, “Sooner or later we may have to impose penalty for violating for rules of cleanliness, for throwing garbage into the streets, for throwing garbage into the rivers. We have a lot of challenges as far as land is concerned. We need to have a scientific way of treatment of waste. We need land for scientific management of waste. There is also a shift of focus not only on solid wastes, but also treatment of water-waste as well. This is a time now that we also concentrate from solid to liquid.”

While speaking about the 20 sanitation workers who were awarded at the programme, Kharmalki said, “This is in recognition of the outstanding work that they have done. They are the unsung heroes. Heroes are not extraordinary, but ordinary people who go on to do extraordinary works. They are the ones who have persevered and endured in the face of obstacles. They keep on doing the same thing every day, stick to their duties in sun and rain, in heat and in cold. And they have today, become the heroes for sanitation.” The sanitation workers were given a citation and Rs 10,000 each.

Meanwhile, attending the morning programme held at Motphran, Dr. Vijay Kumar D, IAS, Commissioner & Secretary, Urban Affairs Department asked the people to take a pledge to contribute towards a cleaner city. He said, “Today is the day for all of us to think about what each one of us, as individuals, can do for our city. We have the cleanest river as well as the cleanest village. Can we also work together to have the cleanest city? We can!”

Speaking about the locality beautification competition initiative, he added, “We will upscale that program in the upcoming weeks. We will engage with all the garbhats, communities and the community leaders to create a vision for cleaning the city in a very systematic way. The Urban Affairs Department is doing several programs to fulfil this goal”.

Notably, this year’s nationwide theme for Swachhata hi Sewa, commemorating the 9th Anniversary of the cleanliness mission is “Garbage Free India” and in alignment with the focus of this theme, the Government of Meghalaya too rendered focus on visual cleanliness and welfare of SafaiMitras. Accordingly, the awards for Best Performing Boards were presented to Shillong Municipal Board, Shillong Cantonment Board and the Jowai Municipal Board.

The event’s success was attributed to the active involvement of the Government, dignitaries, and the community, that joined the cleanliness drive, like every year, with the spirit of cleanliness activities surrounding Voluntarism / Shramdaan.