Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has been approached by the Centre to be the ‘face’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet ‘Swachh Bharat’ programmme. This comes months after reports that there was a rethink on the part of the government to sign up the actor for Incredible India campaign after the exit of another Bollywood actor Aamir Khan following his controversial remarks on perceived intolerance. However, Bachchan’s name was ruled out after it appeared in Panama papers. Big B had however denied any link with the four offshore companies named in the Panama papers that list him as director.
The Urban Development ministry had sent a letter to the Bollywood heavyweight on June 20 to ‘lend his voice and person’ and help promote a specific part of the campaign, i.e sale of city compost for use as fertilisers in order to reduce waste being transported to landfill sites, an official said. He said they were awaiting the actor’s response.
According to the letter written by Mission Director Praveen Prakash, the government was stepping up efforts to encourage converting bio-degradable waste into compost, for use as fertiliser and reduce the waste going to landfill sites. It is in order to encourage and publicise composting that Bachchan’s participation is being sought, according to the letter.
“A major component of the Swachh Bharat Mission includes 100 per cent scientific management of solid waste in all urban areas… government is very keen to promote processing of bio-degradable component of solid waste into compost, for use as fertilisers…
“In order to succeed, this initiative will also need to be widely publicised- among farmers, citizens, nurseries and public gardens,” the letter said. “We plan to come out with a range of promotional material (radio ads, TV commercials, posters, jingles etc) to spread the message… In this respect we would be grateful if you would agree to be the face of these promotions… lending your voice and person for the radio ads, TV commercials and posters,” it added. Modi had launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or Clean India Mission on October 2, 2014, and set a 5-year deadline to usher in complete cleanliness in the country.