“Tum mujhe vote do, hum tumhe kichad, dengue and malaria denge” (You vote for us, and we will give you mud, dengue and malaria in return). This is written on posters adorning the walls on a stretch of West Delhi’s Rama Road in Kirti Nagar, New Delhi. These posters have photos of leaders like PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal accompanying the text.
A mock opening ceremony was organised by entrepreneur Tarun Bhalla along with his team. The idea occurred to Bhalla after he saw that the road in front of his office was brimming with sewage water from the past seven months. No respite came even after lodging multiple complaints with the municipality, MLA and MP. This was how this unique idea was conceived.
“It was a nightmare for all of us working here”
Tarun Bhalla says that he is neither an activist or has a political agenda, but he is just a common citizen who decided to take on the long-persistent. “For the past seven months, the road right opposite my office was brimming with sewage water and mud, ever since the rains. The sewage system was damaged, and water gushed out from a particular manhole. There was a foul stench in the air,” Bhalla said.
The area, which lies in the Najafgarh industrial belt houses multiple offices, factories and showrooms. Bhalla complained that working in this area had become extremely uncomfortable. He told The Patriot that the condition was so bad that one of the recruited persons rejected the proposal of working at his office owing solely to the pathetic condition in the surroundings.
Bhalla’s sentiments were echoed by other shop owners around the area. Many said that their business was badly hit.
Peaceful way of protest
Bhalla said that initially, he used other methods to draw authorities’ attention. He says that while people stopped parking vehicles in the waterlogged side of the road, he continued, just as a sign of protest. He would also wear gumboots to the office. He regularly posted pictures of the damage and waterlogged roads and tagged the MP and MLA, and other authorities.
When none of this worked, Bhalla decided to make three huge posters, one representing BJP, Congress and AAP. The BJP poster had PM Modi and area MP Meenakshi Lekhi, the AAP poster had Delhi CM Kejriwal and area MLA Shiv Charan Goyal. The Congress poster had Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Congress chairperson Sheila Dixit. All three posters carried the same slogan.
Bhalla says that the idea of this unique initiative occurred to him when he saw that AAP posted banners around the area saying that they had made a certain number of public toilets.
Around 30 invitation cards were distributed, even to the concerned authorities. Bhalla and team distributed sweets to passersby to “celebrate” the authorities inaction.
The plan worked!
This initiative drew a lot of traction from the public. Resultant of this, the authorities took attention. And Bhalla says that within half an hour PWD officers came and surveyed the area. This was followed by sanitation workers coming and cleaning the whole stretch.
“The 500-metre stretch of road, which hadn’t been cleaned in six months, was now almost clean within hours. They removed all the water and accumulated the mud and kept it in a corner.” In two days, the posters were cleared out.