RAJAHMUNDRY: A large number of youngsters in the city have got into volunteering during the ongoing Godavari Maha Pushkarams. They are assisting the police, government officials and NGO members in clearing traffic congestions, guiding pilgrims reach their destination, supplying food/water and creating awareness among the visitors on cleanliness.
The RTC Complex Junction was brimming with activity on Saturday even at around 11 pm with people arriving at and leaving the premises in hordes. Hundreds of vehicles were parked on roadside near the junction, stretching to about a kilometre, to ferry the passengers thereby causing traffic chaos. The police personnel at the spot were apparently frustrated and exhausted controlling the vehicle flow.
It was then that G Tarun Kumar, a student of Godavari Institute of Engineering Technology in the city, assisted the cops to divert the vehicles near the junction. A couple of students joined him in no time to ease the congestion, for about two hours.
Speaking to Express, Tarun said that he felt it as a responsibility to help the police. “We are volunteering to ensure that people return home with good memories of my city, which is celebrating a grand event.” He is also assisting the district water supply officials in distributing water packets among visitors at the ghats during daytime. At each ghat, at least 70-80 college students are seen helping the officials of NGOs and various government departments in streamlining the pilgrim rush, distributing food and water, guiding pilgrims reach their destination and creating awareness among visitors on precautionary measures to be taken to avoid any diseases. In all, around 800 students are working in two shifts a day at the pushkaram ghats.
Young girls, too, are participating in the service activities and are mostly seen at the ghats helping the elderly, children and women at the make-shift dress-changing rooms, requesting the pilgrims to maintain hygiene and avoid littering the area. NSS and NCC cadets are also seen in large numbers serving the pilgrims and helping the authorities.
Ch Sreenidhi, a volunteer from Aditya Degree College of Rajahmundry, said that around 60 members from her college are working at the ghats in two shifts.
There were instances where the police personnel were unable to guide the pilgrims, for most of them hailed from different parts of the country and hence were unaware of the topography of the city. But then, the city youth are guiding them in reaching the destinations.