VIJAYAWADA: Armed with mouth masks and gloves, they move about in the city looking for garbage litters and soiled walls. Should they find a dirty place, they spring into action at once trying to sweep the area and clear the solid wastes. They are group of youngsters in the city, who have taken up cudgels against the insanitary conditions and have taken upon themselves the responsibility of transforming littered places into attractive ones.
Inspired by the initiative of ‘spot-fix’, a Bangalore-based group called ‘The Ugly Indian’, youth in the city have decided to take up the initiative called ‘Vijayawada Needs U’ (VnU) to keep the city neat and tidy. According to the group, spot-fix means cleaning up the mounds of garbage thrown on footpaths and roadsides, removing posters on walls and painting them clean apart from traffic management. VnU is a unique platform for citizens to take part in the governance of the city and it is a brainchild of RISE, a voluntary organisation belonging to them. It is a purely citizen initiative that works towards cleaning the city. Their motto is ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’.
More than 20 volunteers are working in the project and the team consists of engineers, architects and students of visual communication. Firstly, they identify the areas neglected by citizens in the city and the engineers in the group will do a research on the reasons behind abandoning of the place. With the help of Architecture and Visual communication students, they will change the look of the place.
Kilaru Naga Sravan, the brain behind the the project ‘VnU’, said, “When I was studying in Bangalore, I was part of the ‘The Ugly Indian’ team and decided to start the project in Vijayawada. We did three months ground work before initiating the project.” He said the aim of the project was to keep the city clean and encourage people to take direct action against the filth that they see around them.
The members of VnU met chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Sept 27 and requested him to support them. “As the government has already decided to keep the city clean under the Centre’s initiative ‘Swatcha Bharat’, we have asked the CM to link up the programme with VnU and are hoping for a positive response,” said K Sravan. Gowri, a civil engineer and member of the VnU team, said the waste disposal had become a huge problem. This kind of initiatives would motivate the residents. “We have decided to take a stand at an individual level to bring about a change in the cities,” Gowri said. As a part of the VnU project, the volunteers have organised wall-cleaning and painting activity at the Kandhari bus stop on Sept 27 and are planning to expand the project by ‘spot-fixing’ a large number of places in the city with nearly 50 volunteers on Oct 2, 3 and 4.