Johannesburg, Dec 5: Indian expatriates in South Africa have extended their support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' following an initiative undertaken by the Indian missions in this African nation.
Indian High Commission in Pretoria and the Consulate General in Johannesburg organised a meeting with the community members to discuss the campaign that aims to make India clean and provide total sanitation for all by 2019, the year when India would be celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Modi launched the 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' on the birth anniversary of Gandhi this year. "Indian expatriates in South Africa are in large numbers, some of them since the first democratic elections here in 1994, and the idea behind convening the meeting was to encourage them to contribute to the 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' when they travel to India for vacation during the current Christmas holiday season here," said Indian High Commissioner Ruchi Ghanashyam.
Various suggestions for implementation by members in support of the campaign during their visit to India were articulated.
These included making financial contributions to projects directed at cleanliness; supporting small neighbourhood projects; placing garbage bins where required; promotion of separation of waste; and writing to and advocating with authorities for clearing garbage and promoting cleanliness.
Underlining the India-South Africa connect in the 'Swachh Bharat' campaign, Ghanashyam said: "2014, the year of launch of the campaign, also happens to be the 100th year of the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to India and 2019 will be the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Indian community members agreed to a S Africa Chapter of Swachh Bharat campaign
"Therefore, it would be meaningful if Indians residing in South Africa, a country where the Mahatma spent 21 years of his life, contributed to a campaign inspired from his values. Mahatma Gandhi attached great importance to cleanliness in daily life and in fact equated it with godliness," she said.
At the meeting, Indian community members agreed to establish a South Africa Chapter of 'Swachh Bharat' campaign. "This was in fact launched on Facebook during the meeting itself by Debajit Shome, a professional working for Rolfes Chemicals," said Consul-General Randhir Jaiswal.
Indian corporates in South Africa proposed launching products which would specifically say that a small contribution from the sale thereof would go towards the campaign.