Mokokchung, 27 September (MTNews): The Government of Nagaland has announced a change in the date for the nationwide cleanliness drive, aligning it with religious sentiments. In response to concerns raised by various groups, the state’s Home Department has decided to reschedule the nationwide cleanliness drive originally slated for Sunday, 1 October 2023, to Saturday, 30 September 2023.
The cleanliness drive is organized as part of the Swachhata Pakhwada – Swachhata Hi Seva (SHS) 2023, a nationwide initiative aimed at paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi, whose birth anniversary falls on October 2. The Government of India had designated 1 October 2023 as the date for the cleanliness drive.
However, recognizing the religious significance of Sunday, 1 October, particularly to the Christian community in Nagaland, the state government has made the decision to shift the cleanliness drive to Saturday, 30 September 2023.
“The State of Nagaland also along with the rest of the country will be taking part in the mega cleanliness drive, which has been decided to be carried out across the State on 30 September 2023 (Saturday) at 10 am, instead of 1 October 2023, on account of the designated day falling on a Sunday,” the home department said in an office memorandum on Wednesday.
Further, the memorandum issued by the Home Department designates Deputy Commissioners as nodal officers responsible for planning, coordinating, and executing the cleanliness activities in their respective districts. They will collaborate with Urban Local Body (ULB) Administrators for urban areas and Block Development Officers (BDOs) for rural areas, along with district officers from other departments/agencies as necessary.
At the state level, the Commissioner of Nagaland will serve as the nodal officer, overseeing the overall coordination of the cleanliness drive across the state.
NDPP welcomes Nagaland government’s decision to reschedule nationwide cleaning drive
The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) has appreciated and welcomed the decision of the Chief Minister and the Government of Nagaland to prepone the date of the Nationwide Cleaning Drive by one day, to Saturday, 30 September 2023. “This speaks volumes of the maturity of the leadership and the Government in ensuring that the sentiments of the people come first and foremost while at the same time also not avoiding the importance of this awareness campaign on cleanliness,” NDPP said.
The NDPP also said that it is of the view that cleanliness is the duty and responsibility of every citizen and while it is important to educate and encourage the citizens of this importance by creating awareness, it is also equally important that the sentiments of all the citizens must be taken into consideration while undertaking such awareness programs.
The NDPP further appealed to all the people of the State to “come forward in unity on 30 September 2023 and contribute towards creating awareness on the importance of cleanliness, not just in our homes, but also in our towns, villages, localities and surroundings.”
ABAM ‘condemns’ cleanliness drive on Sunday
The Ao Baptist Arogo Mungdang (ABAM) has issued a statement condemning the decision to hold the “Shramdaan for Swachhata” cleanliness drive on a Sunday, a day traditionally reserved for Christian worship and observance.
ABAM maintained that, even though Shramdaan for Swachhata is organized with a phrase Ek Taraek Ek Ghanta Ek Saath as a part of the Swachhata Pakhwada- Swachhata Hi Seva-2023, “it is a recurrent theme, an offensive tool to intentionally subjugate Christians in India.”
It further added that it “vehemently condemn such deliberate attempt made to execute mass social work on SUNDAY as this is a systematic mistreatment infringing the religious rights and freedom of Christians in India.”
In a statement released on Wednesday, ABAM said, ” Today, we are extremely disheartened because the concept of Shramdaan for Swachhata, Cleanliness Drive on SUNDAY October 1, 2023 at 10 am has overshadowed our religious rights, condemned our beliefs and piety, and repressed Christian rituals and activities that centered on Sunday Worship, which in fact is the central facet of every Christian community in India.”
The title of the ABAM statement read, “ABAM Condemns Subjugation of Indian Christians by Shramdaan for Swachhata Activity on October 1, 2023.”