KASAULI, HIMACHAL PRADESH: Indian armed forces would carry out an exercise on high-altitude mountains to "fight out a war" against the junk and debris and this would continue till October 2, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here on Saturday.
She said the Defence Ministry has been assigned the task of cleaning all the debris and the tourists' wastes that were left at the high-altitude positions and this was one of objectives, which started on September 15, would continue till October 2.
"And even if necessary, after that (October 2) too," the country's first woman Defence Minister said.
Sitharaman was in this hilly tourist resort, also one of the country's oldest cantonments, to take part in a function to certify eight open defecation-free (ODF) cantonments that fall under the Western Command.
In her address, she said the Indian Army would also take initiatives to recycle and segregate waste in all the cantonments.
The country has 62 cantonment boards.
"One is, of course, taking care of the cantonment boards with the civic roads also within the domain of the cantonment boards so that not just open defecation-free status but also making sure segregation of waste at homesathe segregated collection goes to the recycling centres," she said.
The minister said the liquid waste would be treated to extract useable, but not drinkable water, for all other purposes. The creation of either pallets for the production of the electricity or manure from the solid waste can all be achieved.
"That is one thing which will run all throughout, not just till October 2, but because globally India is also participant to the Sustainable Development Agenda and therefore we shall continue that even reaching 2019 when we will be celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi," Sitharaman said.
The final and the third objective is keeping the cantonment board areas themselves clean and all recycling waste programmes to be held in all those areas. These include the coastal areas and the (air) bases, she said.
A special assistance fund of Rs 50 crore has been allocated to cantonment boards for this, Sitharaman added.