Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday hailed the contribution of Sulabh International to the cleanliness movement in the country as the organisation celebrated its 52nd foundation day. Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak began the celebrations by honouring Arunoday Sharma from Himachal Pradesh with 'Dr Bindeshwar Pathak Sulabh International Sanitation and Human Rights Prize for Excellence' which carries a prize money of Rs 12.50 lakh. Sharma shot into limelight following his outstanding performance on the television show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) last year. Sulabh, on its foundation day, also felicitated some other children and awarded them with awards and scholarships. "The contribution of Sulabh towards broad-basing Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been admirable. May the Foundation Day's celebrations inspire every member to work with renewed vigour to serve various segments of the society, particularly the poor and the marginalised. Best wishes for all success of the 52 Foundation Day. I am sure that the photo exhibition will renew old memories of the organisation's admirable voyage," Modi said in his message to Sulabh.
The programme titled 'Swachhta & Swadhinta' was organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture. It was attended by a large number of scholars from various universities of the country. Vice Chancellor of Central University of South Bihar, Professor Kameshwar Nath Singh delivered the key note address on the occasion. Yoga guru Baba Ramdev joined the event virtually from Haridwar and lauded the ongoing Swaachta campaign and the efforts taken by Pathak. Meanwhile, the Sulabh founder appreciated the efforts of the prime minister for all-round development of the country, particularly in the field of sanitation. "The Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav is about the prime minister’s grand vision of India 2.0 as Aatmanirbahar Bharat that we all take pride in, and as Sulabh family, we affirm our faith in and resolve to work for, as also the profound vision and dream of Mahatma Gandhi for Swachh Bharat,” Pathak said.
Since its inception in 1970, Sulabh has spearheaded a movement for restoration of human rights and dignity to the former untouchables as well as for providing safe and hygienic human waste disposal system to millions of Indians, who had no access to safe sanitation facilities. Pathak also invented the Sulabh two-pit pour-flush on-site ecological compost toilet, recognised by UNDP and WHO as one of the best global technologies for disposal of human waste, and construction of 1.6 million household toilets as well as more than 10,000 pay-and-use toilet complexes being used daily by 20 million Indians, to name just a few. Director of Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Priyanka Chandra, in her address highlighted the initiatives of the government at 75 Azadi ka Mahotsav. While congratulating 9-year-old Arunoday Sharma, Pathak said, "He displayed wisdom and maturity of a very high order while responding to questions at the popular quiz show at such a young age." On the occasion, students Prashram Srivasta, Disha Tiwari, Isha Tiwari, Ambika Dholpure and Jeevika Dholpure were also honoured.