'No amount of effort on the part of the municipal administration,' Patel said to the people of Ahmedabad speaking about cleanliness 'can keep the city clean without your active co-operation. If you put rubbish in the bins provided by the Municipal Board, instead of throwing it into the street, you will make your locality look clean, help to reduce sickness and add a few years to your span of life.'

In 1924, Vallabhbhai Patel was elected President of the Municipal Board of Ahmedabad. He held this position for more than four years until he resigned in 1928. During his tenure as President, he made it a point to take a morning walk with his friends to inspect the different parts of the city. Speaking to local people during these walks, Patel would familiarize himself with the conditions of sanitation, light and other public conveniences in the city.

Not one to sit in the comfort of an office and order others, Patel himself joined a squad of voluteers to sweep the streets of Ahmedabad. Taking up a broom and a dust cart, he began cleaning the Harijan or Untouchable's quarter of the city. The citizens of the city were stunned for they had never seen anything quite like that. While the conservative elements of society did not approve of his method and some even discussed ex-communicating him, this gesture caught the imagination of the younger generation who formed their own volunteer squads to keep the city clean

Raising money for improving the water system in the city, Patel managed to obtain a loan of Rs. 45,50,000/- within a week from city bankers and mill owners. Alongside with modernizing the water system, he exerted himself to improve the conditions of Santitation, Public Health, and every other matter within the purview of the Municipal Board.

This photograph shows Sardar Patel in 1929 with his brother Vithalbhai Patel.

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