Taj Mahal, Vaishno Devi among 10 iconic places to undergo cleaning on par with international standards

New Delhi: Taj Mahal and Vaishno Devi are among the 10 iconic places with higher footfalls identified by the Centre that will undergo cleaning on par with international standards for which foreign experts are to be involved. Top government officials while giving details of this initiative also said that World Bank will provide technical assistance.

The Centre is also in the process of drafting standard operating procedures (SOP) to ensure cleanliness at 10 popular sanctuaries and tigers reserves, they said.

“We have taken an initiative at 10 iconic places. The idea is to ensure cleanliness of international excellence- level here. We have invited international experts for helping us and World Bank will provide technical assistance for the same,” Parmeswaran Iyer, Secretary (Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation), told reporters.

Taj Mahal and Manikarnika Ghat(Uttar Pradesh), Vaishno Devi (Jammu and Kashmir), Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh), Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Maharashtra), Ajmer Sharif (Rajasthan), Golden Temple (Punjab), Meenakshi temple and Kamakshi Temple (Tamil Nadu) and Jagannathpuri (Odisha) are the 10 places identified by the government.

Iyer said the government plans to do bench-marking to ascertain what will be the standard of cleanliness both inside and outside these places. He said the ministry will organise a two-day workshop next month, when consultations will be held with the experts, who, he said, will help chalk out a roadmap to implement the “site-specific” programme, fix indicators of international standards and decide on timeframe and financial resources.

Iyer, who was accompanied by Environment and Forest Ministry Secretary Ajay Narayan Jha during the briefing, stressed that the initiative will require participation of corporate houses, both private and public, and people to succeed.

Jha said that the Environment Ministry is working on SOPs to take forward cleanliness around national park/sanctuaries/ tiger reserves “a step forward” and identified 10 such locations with higher footfall being the main focus initially.

Among these locations include sanctuaries such as Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (Andhra Pradesh), Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park (Gujarat) and Flamingo Sanctuary (Maharashtra).

Besides these, the government has identified Kanha (Madhya Pradesh), Tadoba-Andhari (Maharashtra), Nagarhole (Karnataka), Periyar (Kerala), Sariska (Rajasthan), Mudumalai (Tamil Nadu) and Jim Corbett (Uttarakhand) tiger reserves.

Talking to reporters on ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, the officials maintained that the implementation of the flagship programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “very much on track” as they noted “remarkable” progress has been made over the past 18 months.

“…we are in the process of drawing up standard operating procedures. The National Tiger Conservation Authority notification already emphasises on maintenance of cleanliness around tiger reserves. We want to take it a step forward. To start with, we have identified 10 sanctuaries. Other places will be included after the SOP is ready,” Jha said.