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Why Govt. Authorities In Delhi Need To Stop Passing The Buck And Fix Our Roads

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According to a recent survey conducted by Chevrolet in Mumbai, driving during rains is considered one of the worst driving scenarios by commuters (50%), followed by driving in the dark or at night (22%). It would not be surprising if the same sentiment was echoed by commuters from other parts of the nation also, especially those navigating the deadly roads of Delhi and the National Capital Region.

Even during other seasons, commuters have no respite from deadly speed breakers, road accidents, traffic jams, non-functional traffic lights, etc. Additionally, there are infrastructure related problems such as non-working street lights, absent or broken footpaths, open drains, etc.

The Condition

As per the Daily Mail, the total length of roads in Delhi is nearly 30,000 km, which also includes more than 388 km of National Highways. Of this, around 1,260 km falls under the Public Works Department (PWD), while nearly 28,000 km, mostly in residential colonies, is owned by the three municipal corporations.

According to Delhi PWD Minister Satyendra Jain’s statement in 2015, “Out of Delhi’s 1,260-km road length, about 600 km needed a complete overhaul, about 300-400 km needed carpeting and about 300 km needed no work.” In addition, nearly 2,000 rough patches that measured over 25,000 square metres were identified in a survey.  As for the condition this year, the three municipal corporations of Delhi, North, South and East MCD, identified 200+ stretches where repair work was planned to be completed before June 15. Even though funds were given for the repair of these roads, the corporations later admitted that 155 of these were still not ready.

Such a lackadaisical approach worsens existing hazards such as potholes, making them vulnerable spots for accidents and collisions. Complaints of spine and neck problems while travelling and other such problems are on the rise.

The Cause

The most commonly reported cause of the poor conditions of roads is the multiplicity of agencies in Delhi, which leads to further issues such as uncoordinated plans, lack of funds and drainage problems. As a senior government officer explains, “The task of maintaining drains falls under the jurisdiction of various departments like the PWD, the Delhi Jal Board, the Irrigation and Flood Control department and the MCDs that have control of different drains. If one agency is given charge of all the drains, the issue will be solved faster”.

As per reports, “The Unified Traffic And Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (Uttipec) was formed so that it will intervene in matters of the multiplicity of agencies and work as a watchdog. But that never happened,” said S Velmurugan, principal scientist, Central Road Research Institute. The issue of lack of funds was highlighted in a report submitted by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in the Rajya Sabha, which said that the main hitch is the sharing of revenues between the Centre and the State.

The Complaints

The complaints show no signs of reducing in number. As per a report published in May 2017 by the Praja Foundation, 704 complaints were filed in 2014 about the re-laying and repair of roads. In 2015, the number increased to 1809 and in 2016 it went up to 2595.

In comparison, the area councillors of three corporations raised the issue at house meetings only 111 times in 2014, 81 times in 2015 and 82 times in 2016. Amid such alarming number of complaints, multiple claims are made about their resolution, such as “When we get a complaint about a pothole, we try to resolve it within 48 hours” made in 2015, “Over 1,000 PWD workers are attending to complaints round-the-clock. We are using more than 500 pumps in areas affected by waterlogging” made in 2016 and the latest, that “There is a centralized complaint centre for complaints about potholes and rough patches on the roads under its control.” Despite this, the truth is out for all to see during the months of June-July-August.

Add to this the confusion among citizens surrounding which complaints go where. In a classic example, it took more than three years for Vasant Kunj residents to figure out who is responsible for the maintenance of a Master Plan road. And, instead of taking ownership, the BJP-ruled corporations and Delhi government’s PWD kept passing the buck.

Our Civic Responsibility

Roads form an integral part of our lives, there is almost no one, who doesn’t use them on a regular basis which is why their deplorable condition affects us so much. We witness people complaining about water-logging every monsoon, we read about accidents caused due to potholes, the absence of street-lights makes driving unsafe but we drive on those very roads every day and forget about them the moment we reach our homes and offices. We don’t stop to think if we can contribute to their improvement, that we can become agents of change and make life easier for other commuters, and even if we could get one pothole repaired by putting in extra effort, we are potentially saving the lives of many.


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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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