November 12, 2010
“Bus stand poi paaru na, pala pala nu irruku,” shouted a conductor on this hot Friday afternoon. He was speaking in his language Tamil, exclaiming that one go and take a look at the bus stand, it was glittering!
When the rest of Coimbatore was busy enjoying a holiday, students and faculty of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham were busy cleaning the town bus stands, continuing the clean-up drive that began on Oct 31.
This time, 950 volunteers participated. This included students from all departments, faculty and staff, who cleaned two bus stands with such selfless dedication, that it surprised the public around. Littered all around was waste plastic, empty Pan Parag satchets and used bus tickets. These even clogged the drains.
Students and other volunteers cleaned the sewage and removed the blocks. “Yes it was stinking,” they said, “but someone had to do it, right?”
Student and faculty groups cleaned the walls and floors of the bus stand as well as the nearby lawns. Faculty members reported being overwhelmed with the students’ dedication. A group of students was found cleaning an area which was not even assigned to them.
Like last time, students separated the decomposable and the non-decomposable waste before sending for disposal. They did the work with absolute joy and enthusiasm. The plastic, mud and Pan Parag satchets alone filled two trucks. Bleaching powder was later sprinkled on these areas.
“We’re doing something for the people of Coimbatore,” stated Manoj, a third year student of B.Tech. (Chemical Engineering). “I feel service is always good for humanity.”
The branch manager of the bus stand, Mr. K. Gandhi happily did his bit by publicly appreciating the Amrita student cleaning initiative and requesting the public to keep the bus stop clean. As he made his announcements over the microphone, he also committed to putting up waste bins on the bus stand premises.
And what about the general public? Did they appreciate the student effort also?
“Altruistic dedication always creates inspiration,” the students shared. “In the beginning, it may have seemed that there was not much appreciation from the public. But slowly our dedication did impress them and many personally thanked us for our service.”
Mr. Govindrajan runs a bakery and a restaurant at Peelamedu. He read about Amrita’s clean-up drive in a newspaper and voluntarily turned up to help. “This is such a great initiative that I wanted to be a part of it,” he said.
Many shopkeepers near the Thiruvalluvar bus stand also helped the students clean the surroundings. A taxi driver voluntarily brought drinking water for the students and the staff. A group of students from the Air Crew Academy was waiting for their bus. Finding the Amrita effort highly inspiring, they said that they would join in next time.
Reactions at the other bus stand that was also cleaned were not very different.
“Just this morning I had heard a radio announcement that the Gandhipuram bus stand is one among the dirtiest bus stands in Tamil Nadu,” stated Mr. Gautham, who rides a bus from this junction daily.
“Now that I am seeing the students clean it, I feel proud,” he added. “I am sure that people’s outlook on cleanliness and their opinion about the bus stand will surely change after this.”
Added the Assistant Engineer of Coimbatore Corporation, “The public will surely be more responsible in the future and refrain from littering. The dedication of this drive was indeed more than what everyone had expected.”
The Corporation provided full support by bringing in extra trucks to dispose off the waste.
Ironic as it may seem now, the Thiruvalluvar bus stand was recognized as the cleanest bus stand in 1991 when Dr. Niranjan Mardi was the Corporate Commissioner. “It is sad that all these years no one took the initiative to clean the bus stand,” stated Mr. O. J. Kumaresan, Director, Physical Education at Amrita. “We have made a beginning. We will continue to clean until the public becomes conscious and sentient.”
“We want the community to take part and the awareness about cleanliness to percolate into their minds,” added the Pro-Chancellor, Br. Abhayamrita Chaitanya. “Only then will our undertaking be complete.”
- Report by Komal G., 1st year student of MA (Communication)
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