Govt officials sulk as 'Swachh Bharat' sweeps away long-weekend plans

Employees of NMMC and CIDCO complained of having to cancel pre-planned holidays during the extended weekend, as the Centre’s ambitious clean-up campaign launched yesterday required them to be present in office

While ministers took to the ‘Swachh Bharat’ clean-up campaign launched by PM Narendra Modi with elan and posed for photo-ops, government employees are sulking that their travel plans went for a toss because of the initiative.

CIDCO employees taking the oath of cleanliness after the launch of the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign yesterday
CIDCO employees taking the oath of cleanliness after the launch of the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign yesterday

Many employees of City Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) and the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) had to cancel pre-booked holiday plans, as they were required to be present in office yesterday. Employees had booked tickets for the extended weekend from October 2 to October 5.

Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha, makes his contribution to the ‘Swachh Bharat’ cleanliness drive by sweeping the footpath outside CST. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha, makes his contribution to the ‘Swachh Bharat’ cleanliness drive by sweeping the footpath outside CST. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

But, as the Centre flagged off the nationwide cleanliness drive on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, government employees were stunned as they were ordered to report to office to participate in the programme and clean up their premises. CIDCO and NMMC employees did, however, come to office to do the same.

Railway workers pick up trash inside CST premises during the country’s biggest cleanliness drive launched yesterday
Railway workers pick up trash inside CST premises during the country’s biggest cleanliness drive launched yesterday

‘Spoilsport’
“As this week had continuous holidays, I had booked tickets for a trip to Konkan. But, a single day of work has disturbed our plans,” said an NMMC employee, on condition of anonymity. I was looking forward to going out of town during these holidays, as getting such a long official leave is rare.

Youth participate in a rally on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, stressing on his ideals of keeping the nation clean
Youth participate in a rally on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, stressing on his ideals of keeping the nation clean

Our good days (achche din) haven’t come yet,” complained a CIDCO employee. Staff members also had to take an oath promising to make India clean. Some employees also criticised the decision, saying they already cleaned and maintained their workplaces on a daily basis and that there was no need to start such campaigns on a national holiday.

Volunteers of the Tej Gyan Foundation, an NGO, participate in the clean-up drive and sweep Parel railway station. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Volunteers of the Tej Gyan Foundation, an NGO, participate in the clean-up drive and sweep Parel railway station. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

Official speak
Jagannath Sinaarkar, deputy municipal commissioner, NMMC, said, “Every year, this day is usually a holiday, but there was a change in schedule this time. As per instructions, we had requested the entire staff to report to office and participate in the cleanliness drive. As part of the drive, our staff members cleaned their workplaces and even streets across the city were swept clean with the help of our cleanliness staff.”

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