Scrub paan-stained walls and floors after professional cleaners hired for the job
balk at sight of the muck
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).
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
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