Change, they say, will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
And thus came the idea to bring some change in my neighborhood. An empty plot opposite to hotel Pakeeza in Kishan Bagh (Bahadurpura, Circle-5, South Zone) became a dumping yard for garbage and debris. The open plot also serves as a point where a garbage bin is placed by GHMC officials to collect garbage.
Over a period of time, the garbage and debris kept piling up and was ignored by the sanitary department of GHMC.
I lodged a complain on GHMC’s online grievances portal (http://22.214.171.124/ghmc/csp/) in the month of March to remove the garbage. Complain # W021820. The complain was closed 4 times without any resolution. After multiple follow ups with area Deputy Commissioner and Sanitary officer, a part of garbage was lifted and the debris was left untouched. The complain was finally closed in June.
The situation did not change much. The garbage and debris were being dumped regularly by unknown persons and the open plot became a dumping yard again.
I lodged 2 more complains on in August to clear the place – complain # W041286 & W041381. When I spoke to the concerned Medical Officer, Mr K Venkateshwar Reddy (Mobile # 8978901252), he informed that they dont have vehicles to lift the debris and we have to wait till the vehicle is arranged.
I called up his superior, Mr Vandana Kumar, Additional Commissioner, Health & Sanitation GHMC. He gave the same excuse – No vehicles to lift the garbage. Wait till the vehicle is arranged.
I wanted to take this issue to next level: An SMS campaign to all the top officials of GHMC to take action on the complain.
An event was created on Facebook on 2nd September 2013 for the SMS campaign: https://www.facebook.com/events/478619122233885/
A poster was circulated on Facebook to draw attention:
Around 45 friends pledged their support to this event and contributed by sending SMS to the officials.
Mutiple SMS were sent to the top officials of GHMC.
Also, we sent the pictures to DC, the popular local daily to create some visibility :
Deccan Chronicle published this issue in their “Speak Out” section. (http://www.dc-epaper.com/Gallery.aspx?id=02_09_2013_012_007_002&type=P&artUrl=READERS-REPORT-02092013012007&eid=114)
After Multiple follow ups and multiple text messages from many friends, the sanitary department finally acted. They removed the garbage and debris on 16th September. The Sanitary Supervisor called me on 16th September to inform that they have cleaned the place and wanted me to inspect the same to confirm.
Today, I checked the open plot and the place was clean: Here is a pic showing the condition “Before-After”
What did I learn from this campaign and experience:
1. A constant engagement with the system is necessary to ensure a proper functioning of the system
2. If the authorities fail to act on initial requests, take the campaign to the next level. Utilize various options to push the authorities.
3. Do not give up until the authorities act. A sustained campaign is necessary to reach the goal.
4. Use Social Media to spread awareness on simple issues
If each one of us can do a small act to bring a change in the way our system functions, soon, this country will be a better place for all of us.