No water supply makes it all the more worse. In the roads filled with filth and household waste, in the village of Rangpuri, New Delhi, a team of ten students took the initiative to spread awareness about the importance of waste disposal and cleanliness. The students went to the village through the Swachh Bharat Summer Internship Programme organised by The Ministry of Human Resource Development in association with the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
The households in this village don’t receive proper water supply throughout the day. “We get just 15-20 minutes of water supply in the morning, and that is all for the day,” informed a resident of the village. On being asked about the complaints and the improvements, they say, “Who listens to us? We have been complaining for a long time, but they don’t pay attention towards the area.” Some of the households have their own private connections, but most of them are suffering. There are pits which contain clogged water dirtying the roads with wet mud all over. The village does not have a common dump yard wherein the household wastes could be collected.
The sweepers and waste collectors collect the waste from households and dump all of it wherever they get space outside the village. There is no provision for the primary collection of garbage of the area. The sweepers also don’t come regularly. “The garbage-collector comes at a gap of 3-4 days,” a woman staying on rent in one of the households informed.
The students visited two MCD schools and six Anganwadi centres in the village to spread awareness amongst the public, especially the children. “It is difficult to change the minds of the adults and women of the place; they have been conditioned in a certain way. So, we decided to teach the children about the importance of proper waste disposal. They are the future of the nation, after all,” Avinash Shukla, the head of the students’ team told me. “MCD workers are not regular due to which many people have their own private workers dump their wastes,” says their report.
The private workers take ₹50 from each household per month, whereas the MCD vehicles that come to pick up the trash from the roads every day, get paid ₹12,000 per month, which they say they didn’t receive till June 20 of this year. The MCD garbage collector complained, “Let the government come and face us, I’ll fight with them. I have a lot of grievances with the authorities. I am afraid of confiding to the media; my job will be in trouble.”
He further added, “There can be door-to-door rag picking if the government wants, who are we to decide?” He works from 5 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. He says if he is on leave, it is the Government’s responsibility to send a substitute for the lanes of Rangpuri. According to the reports submitted by the team of students, they had an open interaction with almost 300 students and 200 women of the locality. They also held a meeting with the councillor of the village Mr Inderjeet Sherawat and got the permission for the installation of blue and green dustbins in all the Anganwadi centres.
The students, with the help of the councillor and the head of the labour union, organised a Swachh Bharat rally in the village. They did a door-to-door campaign enquiring about people’s ground level problems regarding cleanliness and sanitation. The report informs about the condition of the village after the cleanliness drive. It says most of the people have started using paper bags instead of polythenes. A lot of residents now know about the separation of wastes and have begun taking the initiatives on this.