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Taj Mahal, Ajmer Sharif & Sariska Tiger Reserve among the 10 iconic places part of ‘Swacch Bharat’ drive.
The Central government has identified 10 iconic places for observing international standards of cleanliness under the Prime Minister’s flagship ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ with the help of the World Bank. The government said it is also in the process of drafting standard operating procedures (SOP) to ensure cleanliness and waste management at 10 national parks and tiger reserves.
Along with these 10 places, the union environment and forest ministry, too, has decided to focus on ten protected areas for a cleanliness drive, and push them towards a plastic-free and litter free regime. The ‘iconic’ places identified are Vaishno Devi in Jammu and Kashmir, Taj Mahal in Agra, Manikarnika Ghat at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Kamakhya Temple in Assam, Jagannath Puri in Odisha, Ajmer Sharif Dargah in Rajasthan, Meenakshi Amman Temple in Tamil Nadu, Balaji temple Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, Golden Temple at Amritsar, Punjab and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
The environment ministry’s plan to choose national parks and tiger reserves is based on the footfall of the tourists, who visit for wildlife safaris. During the first fortnight of this month, the ministry began a pilot of the programme the Coringa wildlife sanctuary, Gir wildlife sanctuary, Kanha Tiger Reserve, Tadoba-Andhari tiger reserve, Thane flamingo sanctuary, Nagarhole tiger reserve, Periyar Tiger reserve, Sariska tiger reserve, Mudumalai tiger reserve and Jim Corbett tiger reserve. Across these parks, the ministry with the state forest departments, is trying to keep the forest free of plastic. These parks have been chosen as a representative sample and the scope will be widened to other parks too. Littering in and around these parks also gives rise to man-animal conflict, which need to be prevented.
The locations were decided on the basis of higher annual footfall.