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By Way2k Way2k
Way2k 3 Oct 2012
Students from Tolani College clean Santacruz Skywalk

One look at the filthy skywalk at Santacruz station is enough to scare even the toughest of eco-warriors away. But a group of college students decided to prove that theory wrong. Armed with mops, more than 500 students of Tolani College in Andheri (E) took up a six hour long clean-up drive of the skywalk on Tuesday (20th Dec).

Students from tolani college clean santacruz skywalk

The Inspiration:
The idea of the clean-up was sparked off by an incident which made Mubeen Shaikh, a faculty member. "One day I saw a lady from the UK clicking pictures of the dirty skywalk. She was regretting her visit to India. It pinched me to hear that, said Shaikh. He then visited the BMC and MMRDA seeking permission for the campaign. "We hired professional cleaners to help and guide the students in cleaning. But as soon as they saw the scale of operation at the skywalk, they walked away, "said Mubeen. So students took matters into their own hands.

Pedestrians were surprised to see the students streaming into the skywalk and picking up stray wrappers and wiping off the spit-stains from the walls. To keep up spirits, a group of placard-bearing bunch of students chanted a revised version of Kolaveri Di, with lyrics changed to messages appealing to the spitters to stop. Street plays were also arranged along the length of the skywalk to convey a message for a cleaner Mumbai.

Collin Rodrigues, President of the Rotaract club of Tolani College, who also participated in the campaign said they had inspected the skywalk much before cleaning it. "It amused us to see the number of spit stains on the ceiling of the skywalk. I wonder how they managed to do that. Maybe they had a competition!" he chuckled.

More Hands on Deck:
While most people watched in stunned silence as the students went about their job, one decided to pitch in. Prabhakar Shetty, owner of Navratna Restaurant situated near the skywalk, supplied them with water, detergent, scrubs and a bit of hands-on guidance. A group of tourists from Ireland, present at the Santacruz station, liked the initiative."This is definitely a start, "said Nadia, a tourist from Ireland.

The students did, however, face a few setbacks: Angry objections by hawkers with stalls beneath the skywalk, who had to deal with the water that trickled down from the skywalk and onto their stalls. They hurled abuses at the students, but cooled down when they heard the cause behind it.

A Thank You from MMRDA:
The clean-up ended at 4 pm before the evening peak hours began. To their surprise, an officer from the MMRDA visited the site in the evening to thank them for their efforts. Mubeen said the college is next targeting public places around the airport since those create the first impression of India for a foreign tourist.

Courtesy: Times of India

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