The India Army. The first image which comes to mind is that of soldiers manning our borders, batting in combat. But assigning some of the best and bravest among us to clear garbage left behind by irresponsible tourists? Now that is something which we simply cannot digest but it happening.
The tourist rush is over and they have left behind so much garbage, even in the pristine and fragile Himalayas. The Indian Army has been instructed by the government to clear up trash from Himalayan pilgrimage places such as Badrinath, Kedarnath, Hemkund, Gangotri and other high-altitude regions such as Mount Kamet Base and Dharchula.
“Many of these high-altitude bases are not reachable by tourists like you and me but still some tourists manage to get there. The junk left behind never decomposes because of conditions prevailing there,” defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said.
Wonder why the army is needed to do this? Where is the civil administration? “Why are they first not ensuring that no tourists leave any litter and if they fail to do so, they have the resources, funds and authority to clean up,” former Vice-chief of Army Staff Vijay Oberoi wrote in a piece for The Citizen. “The armed forces, both in field areas, peace stations and different types of bases have always kept their habitat clean, green and hygienic. They are actually models for the civilians to emulate. So why have such orders/instructions been issued?”
Really, this is a cultural issue. We Indians simply have this “cleanliness” gene in us. We litter wherever we go; we keep our homes clean but everything outside be dammed! So all these ministers who did a photo opp with brooms, cleaning places which were clean, probably need to be sent elsewhere to clean.