Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mantra of ‘na gandagi karenge, na karne denge’ which he gave to the citizens of India during the launch of his pet project Swach Bharat Abhiyaan on October 2, 2014, echoed at the annual 32nd Surajkund International Crafts Mela being held at Surajkund in Haryana’s Faridabad district. The 17-day long international event that opened on February 2 is the largest craft fair in the world and witnesses millions of visitors every year and around a lakh visited it on the second day itself. Despite its scale and evergrowing footfall, this year the Mela has been able to maintain the most basic thing right – cleanliness and hygiene. Though the credit goes to the organisers and support staff managing the event, the role of the visitors cannot be ignored. They have clearly taken the cleanliness drive seriously at this International fair. A sense of responsibility was visible amongst them and they ensured that no one littered around, and the garbage was disposed of only in the dustbins.
“In spite of so many people visiting and eating at food courts, the Mela looks very clean. I have been coming here almost every year and I find a sea change this year. In the past, the toilets were not well maintained. However, this year, they are very clean. Environment-friendly e-toilets have also been set up within the Mela premises, in addition to the traditional toilets. There are innumerable dustbins kept all over the place and they are emptied before they overflow. The safai karamcharis (sanitation staff) are adequate in number and are doing a great job in keeping this place clean. Definitely, Modiji’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan has played a great role,” expressed Ameeta Dahiya, principal at Government School, Tigri, near Faridabad.
Another visitor Satish Sharma an IT professional who visited the Mela for the first time also lauded the cleanliness. “It’s unimaginable to maintain sanitation and hygiene at a place where you get almost a lakh visitor per day. But you do not see any garbage lying around and this is a real success. The Mela is indeed at par with any international fair,” Sharma said.
Ghats of Benaras or Varanasi from where PM Modi kicked off the cleanliness drive last year find a special place at the Craft Mela. As the theme of the Mela this year is ‘Uttar Pradesh’, landmark structures of the state have been recreated at the site. The replicas of ghats of Benaras such as Assi Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Harishchandra Ghat, Rajendra Prasad Ghat and Ardh Kumbh are the main attraction besides stalls of exquisite handlooms and handicrafts from 20 countries and all the states of India which add colour to this vibrant event.