While it’s true that the Swachh Bharatcampaign – that aims at promoting a clean India – is a noble campaign, it’s execution has not been as exemplary as its motive. Something that local entrepreneur Tarun Bhalla, who has a robotics firm Avishkaar in West Delhi, noticed and took action on.
As per TOI , for the longest time, Tarun Bhalla had noticed a ‘sewage lake’ around his office, which was dirty, infested and overflowing to a level that he was forced to wear gumboots to work, as a form of visual protest.
For almost seven months Tarun Bhalla and his employees continued to complain to the local authorities about the unhygienic and dismal condition of the area, but to no result.
The condition was so severe, that roadside vendors and barbers were forced to set up shop in knee-deep sewage water, and consequently, their businesses suffered. Tarun initially protested via social media, by uploading images of the area and tagging concerned authorities. However, when all of it failed, he decided to take drastic measures.
Reportedly , on March 02, he set up three posters – one each of the three political parties AAP, Congress, and BJP – with the ‘election slogan’, ” tum mujhe vote do, hum tumhe kichad, dengue aur malaria denge. “
He went on to host an ‘opening ceremony’ for the ‘open-air sewer lake’, sent out invitations for the inauguration, distributed ladoos at the event, and had his 11-year-old daughter cut the ribbon.
“My 11-year old daughter cut the ribbon and inaugurated it, as I wanted someone of her age to be involved too—so that she can realize the condition people live in. She was hesitant to get into the mud at first, but I said, ‘ keechad saaf karne ke liye toh keechad mein utarna padega na.”
And that’s when the authorities finally took notice. Soon after the posters were displayed, concerned authorities reached the venue and surveyed the area. Within a few hours, the PWD officers and sanitation workers cleaned the road of the water and mud and the 500-meter-stretch of road was back to looking and working like a road. By Monday, even the posters were cleared out.
“Clearly they always had the means to fix it, but didn’t bother until they were shamed,” said Tarun.
Talking about his unique method of protest he said, “I am not interested in being violent. I don’t want to grease the palms of some MCD officer to make this happen. As a common man, my strength is in numbers and having a sense of humour.”
Sometimes, it takes only one common man to get rid of a ‘common problem’ that plagues thousands of people.