Prez hails Bachchan for his role towards making India open defecation-free

Prez hails Bachchan for his role towards making India open defecation-free

Hailing Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan for his contribution towards making the country open defecation-free (ODF), President Ram Nath Kovind today said the television commercials featuring the actor had inspired crores of people.

"We keep watching the advertisements of famous actor Amitabh Bachchanji on TV. There are two-three of such advertisements -- one of the concepts being 'Darwaja band to bimari band'.

"Earlier also, we used to think that if we opened the (toilet) door, the diseases would spread. It was a scientific thought," the president told a function organised here to declare urban Maharashtra ODF.

"The famous actor is doing these advertisements for free. Of all the stakeholders, who have been felicitated today for achieving the ODF status and who are working in that direction, Amitabh Bachchan's contribution to the cause is no less. I want to congratulate him as well. Crores of people must have been inspired by his advertisements," he added.

The Bollywood superstar was not present on the occasion.

Kovind said the mindset of the women in the rural areas today was such that they refused to get married if theirin- laws' house did not have a toilet and those married refused to go back to their in-laws' house if there was no toilet.

"This thought is an example of a new India," he added.

"During the Independence movement, wherever (Mahatma) Gandhiji stayed, he used to clean the toilet there himself," the president said.

"Another mindset needs to be developed...whether it is an individual toilet or a public toilet, we should remember to keep it clean after using. Many a times, people refrain from using a public toilet thinking that it is in such a bad state that they would fall ill if they use it," he added.

Kovind said he was immensely satisfied to see a recent news report about a tribal woman in Chhattisgarh digging a six-foot pit for her daughters, without waiting for the government to build a toilet.

"Fulfilling all the targets of the Swachh Bharat mission, which was launched on Gandhi Jayanti (October 2) in 2014, will be a true tribute to the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi," he added.

The president said diseases caused by uncleanliness affected the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country to the tune of 6.4 per cent.

"Sometimes, people may find it convenient to defecate in the open. But, its results are bad. When they fall sick, they realise that it would have been wiser to spend Rs 15,000 on a toilet than spending Rs 50,000 on the treatment of their child or wife," he said.

"The poor suffer the most due to the diseases that spread due to uncleanliness. They fall sick, cannot work...we should take the required measures, which will ensure that we do not fall sick. We do not need to compromise on cleanliness," Kovind added.

Earlier in the day, the president inaugurated the Shirdi International Airport, flagged off the inaugural flight from Shirdi to Mumbai and also inaugurated the centenary celebrations of the Samadhi of Sai Baba at Shirdi.

Speaking at Shirdi, Kovind said Sai Baba attracted the people of every caste, religion, sect and class.

"Using simple phrases such as 'Sabka Malik Ek Hai', Sai Baba explained the philosophy of 'Advaita' to the common man. His influence can be seen all over the world," he added.

The president said along with "spiritual connectivity", the country also needed "physical connectivity" through large infrastructure projects.

He lauded the building of the airport as a measure which would help the pilgrims and visitors as well as trigger economic activities and create jobs in the region.

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