Sindhudurg (Maharashtra), Sept 11: Bordered on the west by the bluish-green waters of the Arabian Sea and on the east by the lush green forests of the Western Ghats, Sindhudurg district in southwest coastal Maharashtra is a veritable tourist delight. The district offers an equal measure of 30 sparkling beaches and big and small hill resorts — including the famous Amboli — scores of temples, festivals celebrated grandly, a salubrious climate virtually round-the-year, the typical Malvani style cuisine with emphasis on seafood, many “things to do” and friendly people. Earlier this week, Sindhudurg suddenly shot into the tiol limelight after it was declared as “cleanest” district in the plains in the country, while Mandi in Himachal Pradesh claimed the honour in the hills section. Though happy with the distinction achieved, the local administration shrugs at the honour almost nonchalantly.
“The people of the district have a very high civic sense and it has been historically doing well on the cleanliness front. There is good synergy between the people and the local government that has made cleanliness a habit rather than a compulsion,” CEO of Sindhudurg Zilla Parishad Shekhar Singh, an IAS officer said.
He recalled how former CEO Anoop Kumar Yadav had first launched a mass movement on imbibing the spirit of cleanliness among the people way back in 2006. Even earlier, in 2000, the then Rural Development Minister, the late R.R. Patil, had launched his pet scheme, the Sant Gadge Baba Village Sanitation Campaign (SGBVSC) — later supported by Unicef — in which Sindhudurg villages regularly come tops on several fronts, Singh said. Sindhudurg Collector Uday Choudhary said it has been a long tough road and the success was not achieved overnight.
“Fortutely, the locals are highly tuned to hygiene and cleanliness and we were always leading in the SGBVSC. Of course, the real push came in the form of Prime Minister rendra Modi’s Swachch Bharat mission that spurred us to clear the last lap successfully and catapulted us to the tiol level,” Choudhary told IANS. The duo explained that a survey under the Gramin Swachh Survekshan since May this year measured overall cleanliness in all places, sanitation, water supply, open-defecation-free (ODF) communities and solid-liquid waste magement practices. Sindhudurg became the state’s first ODF district in April 2016.
Sindhudurg is the convergence point for the northern-southern branches of the Western Ghats, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and abounds in rich flora and fau. Amboli is the last hill station in Maharashtra before the ghats give way to the rolling plains of adjoining Goa and Kartaka. The distict has seven major forts, including the Sindhudurg Fort standing on a tiny isle off the Malvan beach, hill forts and other sea forts, mostly constructed during the rise of the Maratha Empire founded by Chhatrapati Shivaji as part of the fortification of the entire Konkan region. (IANS)