Versova Beach Cleanup Drive Suspended; I Failed, Says Afroz Shah After Assault by Local Goons, Government Apathy News Desk
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Versova Beach Clean-up Activist Afroz Shah Meets Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra CM Assures Measures to Stop Heckling of Volunteers

Afroz Shah, the activist who suspended his massive task of cleaning up the Versova beach in Mumbai, on Thursday met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Mumbai, Nov 22: Activist Afroz Shah, who has been running a cleanup drive at Versova beach, decided to suspend his initiative after 109 weeks following assault and harassment by local goons and non-cooperation by authorities. Afroz Shah had begun the cleanliness campaign in October 2015 and reportedly removed more than 5 million kilograms of trash from Versova beach. Shah alleged that he was heckled and abused by some men and municipal bodies had failed to do their job in the past few weeks.

“Some people heckled and abused us and asked us to leave the beach saying there is no need to pick up the garbage. Beach clean up has been temporarily suspended. I failed on moral grounds,” heart-broken Afroz Shah told news agency ANI. Speaking to another media outlet, Shah, the face of Versova beach cleanup drive, said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) workers haven’t been removing garbage collected by his volunteers remains piled up near the Kolis’ colony.

“The BMC is taking a lot of time to remove the garbage. If they are saying there is plenty of sand in the garbage we collect, hence the delay, they should segregate it or ask us to do it. Someone will have to do it after all,” Afroz Shah was quoted as saying. Shah along with an environmentally conscious community and BMC started a cleanup drive at Versova beach, which resulted in the largest beach clean-up in the world. He was honoured with the United Nation’s Champions of the Earth award.

The campaign gathered huge support with celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan and Leonardo Di Caprio extending support to Afroz Shah. He was found mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address of May. The picture of extremely clean Versova beach, which was tweeted by Afroz Shah, shot him to fame and garnered huge support for his cleanliness drive at Versova beach.