Gates meets Uttar Pradesh chief minister, discusses clean water

Microsoft founder Bill Gates Bill Gates who is currently in India met Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday morning and discussed the repercussions of lack of clean water. They also agreed to extend and expand welfare projects being carried out by the charity that Gates runs along with his wife Melinda Gates.

Principal secretary (Information) Avnish Awasthi said the two leaders spoke about the consequences of encephalitis and water-borne diseases on the natives.

Adityanath briefed Gates about the efforts that the state government is doing to eliminate Japanese Encephalitis/ Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE/AES) and other vector-borne diseases in the state.

He also informed the Microsoft founder that the UP government recently organised successful vaccination programme to counter vector-borne diseases in the state in which over 92 lakh children were vaccinated.

To this effect, Awasthi said, “A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was being signed to take up developmental activities to curb the spread of this life-threatening disease”.

“Discussions were also held on reviving the agricultural sector through advanced technological measures like soil testing, seeding etc..”, he added.

However, it was also noted that the Bill Gates Foundation would assist the Uttar Pradesh government on matters related to cleanliness, proper treatment of sewage, and so on.

“Gates foundation has a long expertise in sewage treatment solutions and we have been working on various projects in other states, we would also like to work on this issue in UP to treat municipal waste and help clean rivers,” Gates said.

Further, Awasthi claimed that Microsoft would work towards the development of the IT sector, along with discussions on tackling tuberculosis, child malnutrition, maternal health, sewage treatment and soil-mapping techniques.

Earlier on Thursday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has urged Gates to adopt villages affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE) violence in Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand and make them model villages by focusing on sanitation and cleanliness. The Home ministry had ordered action against Public Health Foundation of India, a health advocacy group largely funded by the Gates Foundation. A foundation spokesperson said the cancellation of licence was not discussed.

Singh, who met Gates in the national capital had requested him to initiate health awareness programmes in the country.

The home minister suggested that the Foundation should concentrate on developing villages and make them model ones.

On a related note, the business tycoon is expected to arrive in Vizag later in the afternoon, where he will be received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Following this, he is expected to attend the valedictory function of Agri Tech.

Later in the evening, Gates will attend the Association of Domestic Tour Operations of India National Conclave 2017, following which a review meeting is to be held with officials there, prior to his departure.