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India Today Television | October 2, 2015

Sulabh International received the “SAFAIGIRI” Award from Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji for the Sparkingly Beautiful Assi Ghat in an Award Ceremony today organized by India Today Group at Taj Palace, New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi felicitates the Safaigiri Award winners at the event.

Ms. Usha Chaumar, the Honorary President of Sulabh International received the Award on behalf of Sulabh International. Ms. Usha Chaumar was engaged in manual scavenging at Alwar in Rajasthan. Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak took a great step in liberating women like her from the demeaning task of scavenging and helped them out to lead a life that is full of dignity.

The India Today Group launched this initiative to clean India as a commemoration to Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary.

Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder, Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement has been instrumental for the restoration and beautification of ghats and cleaning of the Ganga river. Among the 84 Ghats on the banks of the Ganga, the Assi Ghat has been very dirty with accumulation of a lot of garbage and dirt. The stairs at Assi Ghat of the holy city Varanasi were covered with dirty mud, common visitors and pilgrims could not use the Ghat. Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi started a cleaning campaign digging the dust himself with a spade on November 8, 2014. Sulabh International Social Service Organisation thereafter cleaned all the 52 stairs thoroughly and the Ghat was opened for all on February 22, 2015.

The Assi Ghat has now been transformed into a beautiful place where thousands of people enjoy taking holy dip and participating in the evening Aarti that takes place there at 5:00 a.m. along with Yoga Camp and Hawan. Several cultural programmes are held there in the evenings.

The ghat is now the venue of a unique cultural and spiritual event — Subah-e-Banaras — that draws large numbers of visitors every morning. The Ghat has became a visiting place for the tourists as well as for shooting of films. Deluxe Modern Sulabh Public Toilets have been built there. Now Assi Ghat has became a holy place that it had been in the past as well as a tourist place of interest.

Nominated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the India Today Group launched the Safaigiri Summit and Awards 2015, which has identified champions, whether individuals or institutions, in 13 categories who were awarded for their inspiring work. A jury of eminent citizens selected the champions.