Versova Beach clean-up: Centre steps in after activist Afroz Shah says goons are threatening his team

In October 2015, lawyer and social activist Afroz Shah began a mission to clean Versova Beach.

Afroz and his team had also been praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May for his cleanliness work.

But on Sunday, Shah tweeted that the clean-up was suspended because the volunteers at the beach were being abused by goons for picking up garbage.

"One person picked up a bamboo to hit my tractor operator... One should face the truth. I have failed miserably," NDTV also quoted the lawyer as saying.

The report also said that over the last 109 weeks, Afroz and his team had removed over seven million kg of garbage from the beach. The United Nations Environment Programme has called the movement the world's largest beach clean-up movement.

Days after Shah announced that the movement would be suspended, Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri took up the issue with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. He also assured Shah of his support.

Shah also received support from celebrities like Dia Mirza and Randeep Hooda on social media.

The Shiv Sena also offered support to Shah after he met Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray and mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar at BMC headquarters on Wednesday evening, according to Mumbai Mirror.

"We will speak to the police and ask them to ensure the safety of the volunteers. I have also asked the mayor to fast-track tenders for the new contract (for garbage collection) and extend the BMC's services during the citizen's drive. If needed we will deploy Sainiks during the clean-up drive, too," the report quoted Thackeray as saying.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 23, 2017 14:01:41 IST