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Old Delhi traders resolve to clean up markets

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Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, has urged the traders of Old Delhi to work together with the administration and civil society for giving the walled city a new look.

“A new gameplan aligned to the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Swachh Bharat’ is the need of the hour,” he stressed.

The Minister, who represents Chandni Chowk, the constituency comprising the walled city, today called upon the community of traders, wholesalers and shopkeepers who dominate the economy of this part of Delhi to adopt self-regulatory practices to achieve the national goal of cleanliness and public hygiene.

Dr Harsh Vardhan began the day by personally cleaning up the statue of Swami Vivekananda located at Fatehpuri Chowk.

The programme was organised by Kirana Committee, Delhi to mark the launch a massive, public-private drive which is aimed at changing the image of Chandi Chowk from a teeming, unclean and shabby place to a spic and span, organised showpiece of modern Delhi.

“This place resonates with history and the culture of India. Foreign tourists come here in droves. But they return with memories of filthy streets and bad smells. This must change,” he said. He lauded Delhi Kirana Committee for responding promptly to the Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The traders of Old Delhi who are members of this organisation have resolved to implement within three months a three-point action plan which would result in cleanliness for the area and good health for all inhabitants.

Under the plan, as explained by Vijay Gupta, Chairman of Kirana Committee, the schools of the area will be given support to build new toilets or modernise existing ones. The shop owners will be given baskets or rubbish bins to throw their refuse. They will be encouraged to employ sweepers to clean up the streets on which their establishments are operating –over and above the routine cleaning done by municipal sweepers. Finally, all inhabitants of the area will be given free information packages on promotive and preventive health. A health camp is proposed to be organised on a regular basis in Royal Park which is located in the neighbourhood.

Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “I am proud to represent people who responded within two days of the Prime Minister’s historic appeal. They have designed an excellent architecture of action which, if successful, will be a model before the rest of the country. There can be no substitute for self-regulation as it is often not possible for the government and municipal authorities to service such a huge population by themselves.”

The Minister carried out symbolic cleaning of a stretch of Vivekananda Marg. Later, addressing a meeting of the Kirana Committee, he requested the members to reset their target to Diwali (October 23) by putting their cleaning-up operations on high gear immediately.

“Old Delhi is synonymous with trade. I therefore want traders in Nayi Bazar, Chawri Bazar, Chandni Chowk, Fatehpuri and all other markets to replicate the Kirana Committee’s programme and give the walled city a new, positive image. I also want regular health camps to be organised here and for this you will get my support,” he said.

Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the closed-circuit TV system installed by Kirana Committee in 32 places in the Khari Bawli area to monitor the security of the area. Later, he inaugurated a health camp organised by the Delhi Grain Merchants’ Association (Nayi Bazar) jointly with Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.

The health camp offered people free physicians’ consultations along with a set of free diagnostics: blood pressure check, blood sugar (random) check, body mass index test and electro cardiogram test. Even before the function could formally end, more than 30 people were seen queued up before the temporary structure housing the check-up team of doctors and paramedics.

Also present on the occasion were Mrs Surekha Gupta, Councillor, Vijay Gupta, chairman of Kirana Committee, Advocate Hari Om Gupta, Naresh Gupta, president of Delhi Grain Merchants’ Association, Sanjay Singhal, general secretary, and others.

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