N.S. Rajappan, a differently abled man who has been earning his living by collecting plastic waste from Kerala's scenic Vembanad Lake, is hogging the limelight across the state a day after he earned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's praise in the "Mann ki Baat" programme for his commitment towards cleanliness.
Modi said the news from Kottayam about the divyang elderly person "makes us realise our responsibilities."
"Taking inspiration from Rajappan ji, we too should, wherever possible, make our contribution to cleanliness," the Prime Minister added.
Rajappan was afflicted with polio at the age of five and has been paralysed since. But this has not affected his will power and then he decided to live an independent life without becoming a burden on anyone.
The differently abled man from Kaippuzhamuttu, near Kumarakom in Kottayam was living alone in his dilapidated house till it was submerged in floods in 2018. Following the catastrophe, Rajappan shifted to his sister's house on the bank of Vembanad lake and to eke out his living, he started venturing out to the waterbodies in and around on a small country boat, collecting plastic wastes and cleaning the Kumarakom backwater canal on the banks of the Vembanad lake, which remains as one of the major tourist attractions.
Rajappan told IANS: "I do want my surroundings to look elegant and so decided to collect the plastic wastes from the Vembanad lake off plastic wastes which was certainly damaging the serene ambience and the lake itself."
He added: "Every morning I get into my small rented boat and collect plastic bottles from Vembanad lake. I desire for a better boat and a home that will give me a happy and contented life."
Rajesh Menon, a Dubai based businessman with interest in tourism and travel while speaking to IANS said: "Rajappan ji is doing a fabulous job and we have to give him all support. I am having a conference with my friends and colleagues in UAE and will bring up something for him."
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