Mumbai beach clean-up activist Afroz Shah suspends beach cleaning drive

Updated: 23 November, 2017 21:43 IST | PTI | Mumbai

Lawyer Afroz Shah, whose initiative to clean up the Versova beach in Mumbai was suspended after facing harassment from some anti-social elements, on Thursday met Devendra Fadnavis, but said he had no plan to resume the drive presently.

Lawyer Afroz Shah, whose initiative to clean up the Versova beach in Mumbai was suspended after facing harassment from some anti-social elements, on Thursday met the Maharashtra Chief Minister, but said he had no plan to resume the drive presently. Shah suspended the beach cleaning drive, which had received praise even from the Prime Minister, a few days ago.

Versova beach clean-up drive: Afroz Shah meets CM, says it won't resume as of now
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis with Afroz Shah. Pic courtesy/ ANI Twitter account

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis's office today tweeted that Shah met the CM, and Fadnavis praised him for his contribution to the Swachh Bharat campaign and "assured him all the support from Government".

After the meeting, Shah told PTI, "Chief minister Fadnavis was kind enough to listen to our concerns, he assured to deal with them sternly. He spoke to joint commissioner of police Deven Bharti and also the local civic ward officer and instructed them to look into the matter seriously. "The chief minister even assured us that he himself would be part of the cleanliness drive next to next Sunday, but I am still watching the developments very carefully and not going to resume the drive as of now," Shah said.

Also read: Mumbai cleans up Versova beach, gathers 1.2L kg trash

Shah and his team of volunteers visited the beach every Saturday and Sunday and collected garbage. It was transported by the waste management department of the civic body BMC to segregation centres. However, the 36-year-old lawyer, who practises in the Bombay High Court, suspended the drive saying his volunteers were facing abuse and harassment from some locals, and the administration seemed lethargic about removal of garbage. "It is welcome that the CM himself has vowed to be present at the beach....But I would rather wait and watch before resuming my work alongwith my volunteers," Shah said.

Prime minister Modi had praised Shah's initiative in the radio talk Mann Ki Baat in May, noting that the beach, infamous for its filth, has been transformed into a clean and beautiful place. Shah had alleged that for the last four-five months, the garbage collected by volunteers was not being shifted to segregation centres by the BMC. "Tried my best and I failed. Forgive me my ocean and my country," Shah tweeted on November 18 while announcing suspension of the drive. He received backing from many quarters, including
environmentalist Bittu Sehgal and actor Diya Mirza who urged him to continue his mission.

First Published: 23 November, 2017 21:35 IST

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