“My Clean Vrindavan’ Campaign Gets A Boost From Tata” by Agra Today, Brij Khandelwal
Khandelwal, B. “‘My Clean Vrindavan’ Campaign Gets A Boost From Tata.” Agra Today. 22 April 2011.
‘My Clean Vrindavan’ Campaign Gets A Boost From Tata
By Brij Khandelwal, Agra Today
Friday, April 22, 2011
Vrindavan (India): The holy town of Vrindavan is living in a perpetual fear of being deluged with garbage and sewer waste generated by not only the locals but hordes of pilgrims that daily visit the Sri Krishna land.
Amidst the rising concrete structures and plush ashrams of international gurus, replacing what were once the green clusters, the pride of Braj Bhoomi, can be seen heaps of dirt, stray animals spreading the litter around, ugly polythene and plastic bottles callously scattered. “Why are our pilgrim centers so dirty and why no one bothers to clean up the mess?” wondered a visiting NRI pilgrim Jagan Gupta.
A local NGO is now mobilizing some support from the locals to clean up the mess and present a better profile of the holy town. Friends of Vrindavan has launched a programme to collect refuse from homes and process the garbage into safe and useful manure.
To support the programme, Tata Motors has donated two mini-dumpers. The organisation already has a few carts. Jagannath Poddar, director of Friends of Vrindavan told Agratoday.in, “We have been recycling waste and making paper, we also have a unit for vermi compost making from domestic waste. The problem of cleanliness is really serious and with millions of devotees visiting the small town, the pressure is always too high to maintain standards.”
The vehicles were handed over by officials of Tata Motors to the organization in the presence of Deputy Collector Ritu Sharma, Justice (Retd.) Dev Narayan Thanvi from the Jodhpur High Court, Neeraj Agrawal from the GLA University and many members from the Civil Society of Vrindavan.
While handing over the keys of those equipments G.S. Uppal, head–CSR of Tata Motors said that it was a matter of pride to find an opportunity to serve the holy land of Lord Krishna. He promised maximum support will be given through the Corporate Social Responsibility of the Tata Motors to make this mission a success.
Four more garbage collection vans (mini-dumpers) will be given to Friends of Vrindavan in next two phases, he added. The keys of the vehicles were given to Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami, Member Secretary, and Founder trustee of Friends of Vrindavan.
Till the 1970s Vrindavan was cited as a role model of cleanliness but today it’s a decadent and dirty town, lamented Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami. “We need to bring back the sanitation standards of those days.”
He said if all the temples and religious heads take a pledge to keep the town clean, Vrindavan will not need to beg the resources from anyone to manage the town’s waste.
Lakhs of rupees are almost daily spent to decorate the temples with flowers (phool banglas) just for a few hours. It is necessary to decorate the temples with flowers as the lord resides in it, but the streets around those temples can’t be left dirty.
Some portion of the funds utilized in those decorations should be spent on keeping the surroundings clean. Vrindavan Cleaning Fund is the programme for everyone from the residents to the visitors. Everyone can join this mission physically or by contributing to it, Poddar told Agratoday.in.
Ritu Sharma, who is also the Nodal Officer of the Vrindavan Municipality, said that it was her first day as the Nodal Officer; it was a good occasion to begin her tenure.
She promised the full support on behalf of the District Administration to Friends of Vrindavan’s initiative of creating Vrindavan Cleaning Fund.
Justice (Retd.) Dev Narayan Thanvi from the Jodhpur High Court said that Vrindavan is considered as heaven on earth by the Sri Krishna devotees. Therefore the devotees should maintain the sanctity of this holy abode of their Lord.
Neeraj Agrawal from the GLA University said that the young generation of Vrindavan should understand the pain of the senior citizen who “witnessed the natural beauty of this town. Their complaint to the present generation is genuine as we couldn’t maintain the ecological and cleanliness glory of this holy town. We the youngsters should work hard to keep the town clean and regenerate the past ecological beauty of this town.”
Swami Ram Devananda Saraswati said donating the cleaning equipments was a welcome step and all the corporates should take lesson from the Tata Motors Ltd and dedicate some of their funds in conservation programme of Vrindavan. Shri Sagaria Baba from Gokul also blessed the event.
Shri Bal Krishna Gautam, convener of the Braj-Vrindavan Heritage Alliance said in his presidential address that until the punishable measures are taken the cleanliness of the town can’t be maintained. He said there should be a separate workshop including the civil society members and the municipality in presence of the District officials in order to bring reforms in the sanitation services of the Municipality.
Jagannath Poddar said constant intervention from different corporate is very much needed. In the My Clean Vrindavan drive a large number of organisations were cooperating including UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme, Sunanda Birla Foundation, GTZ-ASEM, Sir Ratan Tata Trust.